Coronary Heart Disease
The most common form of heart disease, coronary heart disease, takes place when the arteries that supply blood to the heart either harden or become too narrow due to the build-up of plaque. Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths per year in the United States (about 600,000 of the 2.4 million). Symptoms of coronary heart disease include, angina (chest pain) and shortness of breath.
The type of heart disease is determined by the location of the plaque build-up:
- Coronary Artery Disease occurs when the build-up of plaque is located in the vessels and arteries that supply blood to the heart.
- Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when the build-up of plaque is located in the vessels and arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs.
- Carotid Artery Disease occurs when the build-up of plaque is located in the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain.
One of the most serious resulting side effects from coronary heart disease is a heart attack. Oxygen-rich blood is no longer able to reach one of the many sections of the heart muscle due to the formation of a blood clot on the surface of built-up plaque.
Heart attacks are the leading killer amongst men and women in the United States, but there are ever-developing treatments that can save lives and avoid irreversible damage. Each year, over 700,000 Americans have a heart attack, including 500,000 who experience a heart attack for the first time.
Symptoms include: Upper body discomfort (arms, back, jaw, neck, upper stomach), shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lack of energy and chest pain.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is incapable of pumping a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body. This may be due to the fact that the heart is unable to fill with enough blood or because the heart is unable to pump the correct amount of blood to the rest of the body. Heart failure is not a condition that occurs quickly, but rather takes time to develop.
Some 5.8 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure.
Symptoms include: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of lower extremities, irregular heartbeat, diminished ability to exercise, coughing a wheezing, with/pink blood-tinged phlegm, abdominal swelling, sudden weight gain, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating.
A stroke is when the flow of blood to the brain is insufficient. It is an emergency and should be met with immediate medical attention.
An ischemic stroke, the more common type of stroke, occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel leading to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts and begins to bleed into the brain. Transient ischemic attacks, or “mini-strokes,” are a brief interruption of the blood flow to the brain.
Symptoms include: Trouble speaking or hearing, facial, arm or leg numbness, visual symptoms, headache.