Who has heart disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States the leading cause of death is heart disease. In the United States, 1 in 4 deaths are due to heart disease. This represents approximately 610,000 people who die from this disease each year.
Heart disease does not discriminate. It is the leading cause of death for several populations, including whites, Hispanics, and blacks. Nearly half of Americans are at risk for heart disease, and the numbers are rising.
While heart disease can be fatal, it is preventable in most people as well. By adopting a healthy lifestyle early, you can live longer with a healthier heart.

What are the different types of heart disease?

Heart disease surrounds a wide range of cardiovascular problems. Several diseases and conditions fall under heart disease. Types of heart disease include:

  • Arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries.
  • Cardiomyopathy. This condition causes hardening or weakening of the heart muscles.
  • Congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are heart irregularities that are present from birth.
  • Coronary heart disease (CAD). Coronary artery disease is caused by the presence of plaque in the arteries of the heart. It is sometimes called ischemic heart disease.
  • Heart infections. Heart infections can be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses.

The term cardiovascular disease can be used to refer affected blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Different types of heart disease can cause a variety of different symptoms.


Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. The symptoms you experience may depend on the type of arrhythmia you have – too fast or too slow heartbeat. Symptoms of an arrhythmia include:

  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat or heartbeat
  • slow pulse
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • chest pain


Atherosclerosis reduces the blood supply to your extremities. In addition to chest pain and breath shortness, symptoms of atherosclerosis include:

  • coldness, especially in the limbs
  • numbness, especially in the limbs
  • unusual or unexplained pain
  • weakness in your legs and arms

Congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects are heart problems that develop with the growth of fetus. Some heart defects are never diagnosed. Others can be found when they cause symptoms, like:

  • blue tinted skin
  • swelling of the extremities
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue and low energy
  • irregular heartbeat

Coronary heart disease (CAD)

CAD is a build-up of plaque in the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood through the heart and lungs. Symptoms of coronary artery disease include:

  • chest pain or discomfort
  • a feeling of pressure or compression in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • feeling of indigestion or gas


Cardiomyopathy is a disease that causes the muscles of the heart to grow and become stiff, thick, or weak. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • tired
  • bloating
  • swollen legs, especially ankles and feet
  • shortness of breath
  • pounding or rapid pulse

Heart infections

The term heart infection can describe conditions such as endocarditis or myocarditis. Symptoms of a heart infection include:

  • chest pain
  • chest congestion or cough
  • fever
  • chills
  • itchy skin

What Are the Symptoms in Women having Heart Disease?

Women often have different signs and symptoms of heart disease than men, especially with coronary artery disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
In fact, a 2003 study looked at the symptoms most commonly seen in women who had had a heart attack. The main symptoms did not include the “classic” heart attack symptoms such as chest pain and tingling. Instead, the study reported that women were more likely to say they suffered from anxiety, trouble sleeping, and unusual or unexplained fatigue.
In addition, 80% of the women in the study said they experienced these symptoms for at least a month before their heart attack.
Symptoms of heart disease in women can also be confused with other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and menopause.
Common symptoms of heart disease in women include:

  • dizziness
  • pallor
  • shortness of breath or shallow breathing
  • dizziness
  • fainting or fainting
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • jaw pain
  • neck pain
  • Back ache
  • indigestion or gas pain in the chest and stomach
  • cold sweat

What causes heart disease?

Heart disease is a collection of conditions and diseases that cause cardiovascular problems. Each type of heart disease is caused by something unique to this condition. Atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease result from the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Other causes of heart disease are described below.

Causes of arrhythmia

Causes of an abnormal heart rhythm include:

  • Diabetes
  • heart defects, including congenital heart defects
  • medicines, supplements and herbal remedies
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • substance use disorders
  • stress and anxiety
  • existing heart damage or disease

Causes of congenital heart defects

This heart disease occurs while a baby is still in the womb. Some heart defects can be serious and diagnosed and treated early. Some may also go undiagnosed for many years.
The structure of your heart can also change with age. This can create a heart defect leading to complications and problems.

Causes of cardiomyopathy

Several types of cardiomyopathy exist. Each type has a separate condition.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy. It is not known what causes this most common type of cardiomyopathy, which leads to a weakened heart. This can be the result of previous damage to the heart, such as that caused by drugs, infections, and heart attacks. It can also be an inherited disease or the result of uncontrolled blood pressure.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This type of heart disease causes thicker heart muscle. It is usually inherited.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy. It is often not known what leads to this type of cardiomyopathy, which results in stiff heart walls. Possible causes can include a buildup of scar tissue and a type of abnormal protein buildup known as amyloidosis.

Causes of heart infection

The most common causes of heart infections are bacteria, parasites and viruses. Uncontrolled infections in the body can also harm the heart if not properly treated.


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