What is heart disease?

Heart disease refers to any condition affecting the heart. There are many types, some of which are preventable. Unlike cardiovascular disease, which includes problems with the entire circulatory system, heart disease affects only the heart.

Heart disease's rate in the United States

Digging deeper into this kind of disease in the United States, healthline.com has answered the begging question about the rate of heart disease in the U.S. According to the survey, as of 2018, 30.0 millions U.S adults were diagnosed with heart disease. Every year, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease causes 1 out of every 4 deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack. Every year, 805,000 Americans have a heart attack, 605,000 of them for the first time.

What's more, about 12 percents of people who have a heart attack will die from it.

Heart disease: Types, causes, and treatments

Heart disease

Photo: WebMD.com

Symptoms of heart disease

The symptoms of heart disease depend on the specific type a person has. Also, some heart conditions cause no symptoms at all.

The following symptoms may indicate a heart problem:

  • angina, or chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue and lightheadedness
  • swelling due to fluid retention, or edema

In children, the symptoms of a congenital heart defect may include cyanosis, or a blue tinge to the skin, and an inability to exercise.

Some signs and symptoms that could indicate heart attack include:

  • chest pain
  • breathlessness
  • heart palpitations
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • sweating
  • arm, jaw, back, or leg pain
  • a choking sensation
  • swollen ankles
  • fatigue
  • an irregular heartbeat


The treatment options will vary depending on the type of heart disease a person has, but some common strategies include making lifestyle changes, taking medications, and undergoing surgery.

The following sections will look at some of these options in more detail.


Various medications can help treat heart conditions. The main options include Anticoagulants, Antiplatelet therapies, Beta-blocker, etc.

A doctor will work with the individual to find a suitable option. Sometimes, side effects occur. If this is the case, it may be necessary to review the medication regimen.


Undergoing heart surgery can help treat blockages and heart problems when medications are not effective. Some common types of surgery include:

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: This allows blood flow to reach a part of the heart when an artery is blocked. Coronary artery bypass grafting is the most common surgery. A surgeon can use a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body to repair a blocked one.
  • Valve replacement or repair: A surgeon can replace or repair a valve that is not functioning properly.
  • Repair surgery: A surgeon can repair congenital heart defects, aneurysms, and other problems.
  • Device implantation: Pacemakers, balloon catheters, and other devices can help regulate the heartbeat and support blood flow.
  • Laser treatment: Transmyocardial laser revascularization can help treat angina.
  • Maze surgery: A surgeon can create new paths for electrical signals to pass through. This can help treat atrial fibrillation.

Heart transplants are another option. However, it can be hard to find a suitable donor at the right time.


Some lifestyle measures can help reduce the risk of heart disease. These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet: Opt for a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fiber and favors whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, it may help to limit the intake of processed foods and added fat, salt, and sugar.
  • Exercising regularly: This can help strengthen the heart and circulatory system, reduce cholesterol, and maintain blood pressure.
  • Maintaining a moderate body weight: A person can check their body mass index (BMI) here.
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart and cardiovascular conditions.
  • Limiting alcohol intake: Females should consume no more than one standard drink per day, and males should consume no more than two standard drinks per day.
  • Managing underlying conditions: Seek treatment for conditions that affect heart health, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Heart disease: Types, causes, and treatments

Heart disease's rate in the United States

Photo: Healthline.com