July 21, 2024
Natinal Heart Month

February is American Heart Disease Month

What is “Heart Disease?” 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The term “heart disease” does not mean only one condition, but rather several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack. 


Sometimes, heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. Symptoms of these conditions may include: 

Heart Attack: 

  • Chest pain or discomfort 
  • Upper back or neck pain 
  • Indigestion 
  • Heartburn 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Upper body discomfort 
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath


  • Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations) 

Heart Disease: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fatigue 
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins 

Risk Factors: 

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are all key factors for heart disease. About half of the people in the United States (47%) have at least one of these factors. Several other conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at risk, including: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Overweight or obesity 
  • Unhealthy diet 
  • Physical inactivity 
  • Excessive alcohol use 

What is “Cardiac Rehabilitation?” 

Cardiac rehab is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes: 

  • Physical activity 
  • Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medications as prescribed, and ways to help you quit smoking 
  • Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health 

A team of people may help you through cardiac rehab, including your healthcare team, exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors or mental health professionals. 

Facts About Heart Disease: 

Heart Disease in the United States: 

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. 
  • One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. 
  • About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year- that’s one in every four deaths. 
  • Heart disease costs the United States about $363 billion each year from 2016-2017. This involves the cost of healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity due to deaths. 

Coronary Artery Disease: 

  • The most common type of heart disease, killing 360,900 people in 2019. 
  • About 18.2 million adults aged 20 and older have CAD (about 6.7%). 
  • About two in ten deaths from CAD happens in adults less than 65 years of age. 

Heart Attack: 

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. 
  • Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States has a heart attack. Of these, 
  • 605,000 are a first time. 
  • 200,000 happen to people who already had one before. 
  • About one in five heart attacks is silent- the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it. 

If you would like to read more about what was just discussed, visit https://www.cdc.gov/heart-disease/index.htm  

If you would like to donate to help with heart disease research, find help and guidance for you or someone you know, or to just learn more about heart disease, visit https://www.heart.org  

Angel Johnson

Angel Johnson is a Communication & Media major who specializes in writing, directing, and editing. Angel has been interested in this field since 6th grade, when she would write scripts in her journal. She loves working with a video camera, and just seeing where it will lead.

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