Learn about symptoms, causes and treatment of heart disease, a term describing a wide range of conditions that can affect the heart. Knowledge is power. Understand the risks you face for heart attack. Extensive research has identified factors that increase a person's risk for coronary heart. Knowing what causes a heart attack is the first step to preventing a heart attack or stroke. Learn the risks and causes of a heart attack and how to manage them.
How obesity causes cardiovascular disease Previously, it was thought that fat was inert. Now scientists understand that fat, especially intra-abdominal fat, has significant impact on our metabolism. Intra-abdominal fat affects your blood pressure; your blood lipid levels and interferes with your ability to use insulin effectively. If you cannot use insulin properly you may develop diabetes, a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.
As you become overweight, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension rises steeply. If a first-degree male relative e. Your chance of having a stroke is increased if first-degree relatives have had strokes. If they were young when they had their stroke, then the risk is slightly higher. Studies have shown that the risk increases if you are a woman and your mother has suffered a stroke.
Studies have shown a genetic component for both hypertension and abnormal blood lipids, factors related to the development of cardiovascular disease. One of the inherited factors is high cholesterol level, known as familial hypercholesterolemia. If you have inherited this condition then you will experience a build up of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood. This can lead to coronary heart disease.
Type 2 diabetes also has a genetic component, so if one of your parents developed the condition you are at greater risk of developing it too. Type 2 diabetes is another risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. In the case of stroke, it is believed that inheriting hypertension is a key factor in the familial link of ischemic stroke.
However, you can protect yourself by taking care of your hear t , as the development of cardiovascular disease involves many different factors, not just your family history.
If you have diabetes you are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes your risk of cardiovascular disease rises for a number of reasons. Hypertension, abnormal blood lipids and obesity, all risk factors in their own right for cardiovascular disease, occur more frequently in people with diabetes.
People with diabetes develop atherosclerosis at a younger age and more severely than people without diabetes. Hypertension is more than twice as common in people with diabetes as in people with normal blood glucose levels.
People with diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, than people who do not, and their prognosis is worse. If you have diabetes you can have a heart attack without realizing it.
If you have diabetes you have a two- to three-fold greater risk of heart failure compared to people without diabetes. Premenopausal women who have diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease because diabetes cancels out the protective effects estrogen. Diabetes and stroke If you have diabetes and hypertension you are about twice as likely to have a stroke as somebody with hypertension alone. Your risk of transient ischemic attacks is between two and six times higher than somebody who does not have diabetes.
Diabetes and peripheral arterial disease Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and over time this puts people with diabetes at far greater risk of intermittent claudication and lower-limb amputation compared to the general population.
Intermittent claudication occurs three times more often in men with diabetes and almost nine times more often in women with diabetes than in their counterparts without diabetes. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet will improve your diabetes status. If you have impaired glucose tolerance and lose weight, you can prevent the onset of diabetes.
Stopping smoking will reduce your cardiovascular disease risk. Risk factors for diabetes The risk factors for Type 1 diabetes have not been proven yet. It is thought that environmental triggers like viruses, toxins in the food chain and dietary components, may play a role.
The most significant modifiable risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Smoking doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease if you have diabetes. The most important non-modifiable risk factor is ethnicity, with Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Africans, Pacific Islanders and indigenous American, Canadian and Australian populations at particular risk.
Simply getting old is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease; risk of stroke doubles every decade after age Your gender is significant: Risk of stroke is similar for men and women. Your ethnic origin plays a role. People with African or Asian ancestry are at higher risks of developing cardiovascular disease than other racial groups. Being poor, no matter where in the globe, increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A chronically stressful life, social isolation, anxiety and depression also increase the risk. Happy New Year with a look back on Diet, overweight and obesity. Cardiovascular risk factors There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and stroke. Physical inactivity and cardiovascular disease The increasing urbanization and mechanization of the world has reduced our levels of physical activity. Tobacco and cardiovascular disease The evidence that tobacco use will kill you is incontrovertible.
Diet and cardiovascular disease The role of diet is crucial in the development and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol Harmful uses of alcohol has been shown to damage heart muscle and increase the risk of stroke and cardiac arrhythmia.
Learn more about their recommendations here: Bad Fats Much of the food we eat every day contains saturated and trans fats. Blood lipids fats as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease Abnormal levels of lipids fats in the blood are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. European recommendations suggest the following targets: Initially, a person can attempt to treat the heart condition using medications.
If these do not have the desired effect, surgical options are available to help correct the issue. A very wide range of medication is available for the majority of heart conditions. Many are prescribed to prevent blood clots, but some serve other purposes. Your doctor will work with you to find a medication that is safe and effective.
They will also use medications to treat underlying conditions that can affect the heart, such as diabetes before they become problematic. However, they can be effective in treating blockages and heart problems for which medications may not be effective, especially in the advanced stages of heart disease. Heart transplants are another option. However, it is often difficult to find a suitable heart of the right size and blood type in the required time.
People are put on a waiting list for donor organs and can sometimes wait years. While these steps do not completely eliminate the risk of heart disease, they can help improve overall health and greatly reduce the chances of heart complications. Heart disease is the most common cause of death for both sexes. Here are some statistics demonstrating the scale of heart disease in the U.
A recent study, to be presented at 's annual Radiological Society of North America meeting, has shown that fat distribution across the body increases the risk of heart disease and other cardiometabolic conditions in women. The 69th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India recently saw the presentation of findings that showed the risk of heart disease increase by percent with baldness and gray hair in men.
Smoking just one cigarette each day can increase the risk of heart disease, according to a new study in the BMJ. The research suggests that cutting out cigarettes completely is the only way to reduce this risk, as opposed to simply cutting down the number of cigarettes.
In other news, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine has linked flu to heart attacks in groups of people who are at risk of heart disease. A new study also suggests that restless leg syndrome RLS may also increase the risk of death from heart-related conditions, especially in older women. To keep up with the developments on heart disease, click here for all the latest news and research.
Article last updated by Adam Felman on Wed 7 February Visit our Heart Disease category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Heart Disease. All references are available in the References tab.
Heart disease fact sheet. Who has an inherited risk? The big 6 heart medications. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
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Register for a free account Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. Register take the tour. Fast facts on heart disease One in every four deaths in the U. Coronary heart disease , arrhythmia , and myocardial infarction are some examples of heart disease. Heart disease might be treated with medication or surgery. Quitting smoking and exercising regularly can help prevent heart disease. There are many different types of heart disease.
Non-statin therapies may be used to reduce cholesterol when statins do not lower cholesterol enough or cause side effects. Your doctor may prescribe non-statin drugs, such as gemfibrozil, ezetimibe, bile acid sequestrants, fenofibrate, alirocumab, evolocumab, or omega-3 fatty acids. Coronary artery bypass grafting CABG to improve blood flow to the heart by using normal arteries from the chest wall and veins from the legs to bypass the blocked arteries,.
Surgeons typically use CABG to treat people who have severe coronary artery disease in multiple coronary arteries. Percutaneous coronary intervention PCI to open coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked by the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque.
A small mesh tube called a stent is usually implanted after PCI to prevent the artery from narrowing again. Transmyocardial laser revascularization to treat severe angina associated with ischemic heart disease when other treatments are too risky or did not work.
Living With will explain what your doctor may recommend, including lifestyle changes and medicines, to prevent ischemic heart disease from getting worse or causing complications. Research for Your Health will discuss how we are using current research and advancing research to treat people with ischemic heart disease. Participate in NHLBI Clinical Trials will explain our open and enrolling clinical studies that are investigating treatments for ischemic heart disease.
Prevent complications over your lifetime. You will likely be given a statin to lower your LDL cholesterol , especially after a heart attack. Your doctor may recommend aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Low-dose aspirin may help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk for heart attacks and other complications of ischemic heart disease for most people, including those with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you will need to check your blood sugar and keep taking any prescribed medicines.
If your ischemic heart disease has gotten worse or led to a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest, your doctor may recommend a pacemaker or defibrillator to detect and treat certain types of serious arrhythmias. Anemia treatment may help if you have been diagnosed with coronary microvascular disease and also have anemia.
Anemia is thought to slow the growth of cells needed to repair damaged blood vessels. Your doctor may recommend you take steps that include: Talking to a professional counselor.
If you are depressed, your doctor also may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life. Joining a patient support group. This may help you adjust to living with heart disease. You can find out how other people who have the same symptoms as yours have coped with them. Your doctor may be able to recommend local support groups, or you can check with an area medical center.
Seeking support from family and friends. Letting your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you can help relieve stress and anxiety. Learn the warning signs of serious complications and have a plan. The signs and symptoms of a heart attack include: Nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
These symptoms of a heart attack are more common in women. Prolonged or severe chest pain or discomfort not relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. This involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong.
This pain or discomfort often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. This may accompany chest discomfort or happen before it. This can be felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Why does ischemic heart disease affect women differently?
Before menopause, the hormone estrogen provides women with some protection against ischemic heart disease. The size and structure of the heart is different for women and men. What conditions affect risk differently for women? Anemia , especially during pregnancy Hormonal birth control Endometriosis High blood pressure after age 65 Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases Lack of physical activity Mental health issues, such as stress, marital stress, anxiety disorders, depression, or low social support Overweight and obesity Problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia and eclampsia Some factors raise women's risk for ischemic heart disease more than they increase risk in men.
Can symptoms differ for women? Although men and women can experience the same symptoms of ischemic heart disease, women often experience no symptoms or have other symptoms than men do: Activity that brings on chest pain. In men, angina tends to worsen with physical activity and go away with rest. Women are more likely than men to have angina while they are resting or sleeping.
In women who have coronary microvascular disease, angina often happens during routine daily activities, such as shopping or cooking, rather than during exercise. Location and type of pain. Women are more likely to describe their chest pain as crushing, or they say it feels like pressure, squeezing, or tightness.
Men say their pain is aching or dull. Women more often say they have pain in the neck and throat. Men usually describe pain in the chest. Mental stress is more likely to trigger angina pain in women than in men. Common signs and symptoms for women include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy.
What do women need to know about diagnosis and treatment? Ask about important diagnostic tests. Doctors are less likely to refer women for diagnostic tests for ischemic heart disease.
When women go to the hospital for heart symptoms, they are more likely than men to experience delays receiving an initial EKG, are less likely to receive care from a heart specialist during hospitalization, and are less likely to receive certain types of therapy and medicines. Younger women are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and sent home from the emergency department after cardiac events that occur from undiagnosed and untreated vascular heart disease.
Ask about treatment options that are effective for men and women. Women may be less likely than men to receive aspirin, statins, and beta blockers for treating their heart disease. Although women may be as likely as men to benefit from a pacemaker or a defibrillator, women are less likely to receive these treatments for complications of ischemic heart disease. Women are often less likely to receive coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary intervention than men are, even though research shows that both men and women can benefit from these procedures.
Know and share your risk factors. Doctors may not recognize women's risk for ischemic heart disease. Commonly used risk-scoring systems may not accurately predict risk in women. Also, in one survey, fewer than one in four women reported that their doctors had ever discussed their risk for heart disease. Learn the symptoms and seek medical care right away. Being familiar with the symptoms of ischemic heart disease and how they may differ in women may help you recognize when to talk to your doctor or when to seek medical care.
Immediate care may help prevent complications such as heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest. Research for Your Health. Improving health with current research. We support the development of guidelines based on up-to-date research to evaluate and manage risk of ischemic heart disease in children and adolescents.
We continue to perform systematic reviews of the latest science. These reviews help partner organizations update their clinical guidelines, which health professionals use to treat adults who have high blood cholesterol. Visit Managing Blood Cholesterol in Adults: Through the FHS, scientists learned that many of those risks can be changed.
Such findings are paving the way for new interventions to preempt, prevent, or treat these conditions more effectively. To mark the 70th anniversary of the FHS, the project director delivered a special lecture highlighting the history and accomplishments of the study. Global Leadership in Cardiovascular Health. We are proud to serve as a global leader and respond to legislative calls to increase U.
The Health Inequities and Global Health Branch seeks to stimulate global health research, education, and training for many conditions, including ischemic heart disease. The NHLBI-sponsored Women's Health Initiative , one of the country's largest clinical trials of women ever undertaken, recruited more than , postmenopausal women to allow researchers to study strategies to prevent ischemic heart disease, among other conditions. The initiative provided evidence that hormone replacement therapy does not protect older postmenopausal women from ischemic heart disease and its complications.
As a result, doctors no longer routinely prescribe long-term hormone therapy for postmenopausal women. National Education Program for Women. The WISE study , which started in , is advancing the understanding of heart disease in women, leading to improved diagnosis and treatment. Most of what is known about coronary microvascular disease comes from the study. The WISE study revealed that 8 percent of women who had chest pain but no sign of obstructive coronary artery disease actually had scars in their heart muscle, indicating that they had had an undetected heart attack at some point, which could increase their risk of serious heart complications.
Depression's link with ischemic heart disease. Thirty years of data from large population studies provide evidence of a link between depression and heart disease. NHLBI-sponsored research is tackling the question of whether depression causes heart disease or whether depression is a risk factor on its own. Visit Heart Disease and Depression: A 2-Way Relationship to learn more.
Effect of early adulthood factors on future risk of cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic heart disease. Doctors encourage young people to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce their risk of ischemic heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions in middle age. Evaluation of risks for heart disease in school children. From to , the multigenerational Muscatine Heart Study followed school-aged children into adulthood to study their heart disease risk factors.
The study continues to evaluate heart disease risk factors in the children of the initial study participants. Heart disease symptoms may vary according to sex or racial or ethnic group. MESA researchers are identifying factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease that occurs with or without obvious symptoms.
They also are studying why certain groups may be at higher risk for ischemic heart disease. MESA has developed an online tool and a smartphone app for iPhone and Android to help consumers assess risk factors and estimate their risk of ischemic heart disease. Importance of silent coronary heart disease in older adults.
CHS investigators found that a large amount of plaque buildup can occur before symptoms of ischemic heart disease appear, demonstrating the importance of identifying the earliest stages of the disease process. In addition, the mechanisms of HIV-related heart disease may be different because of the effects of antiretroviral therapy and a greater contribution of inflammation and other factors. Increased risk of ischemic heart disease among African Americans. The Jackson Heart Study JHS is the largest study of causes of ischemic heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions in African Americans, involving more than 5, men and women in Jackson, Mississippi.
The study has enhanced our knowledge of the genetic and environmental factors that increase African Americans risk of cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic heart disease and its complications. Learning about ischemic heart disease risk in Hispanics in the United States.
Researchers are learning about how widespread cardiovascular disease is in various groups, protective or harmful factors, and changes in participants' health over time. Because cardiovascular disease risk varies among different groups of Hispanics and Latinos, more personalized approaches to screening and prevention of ischemic heart disease are needed.
Nearly half of U. An NHLBI-sponsored study suggests that reducing the consumption of sodium, red meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages while increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood could reduce deaths caused by these health conditions. Visit High number of deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes linked to diet to learn more. Unique risk factors for ischemic heart disease among American Indians.
The study has identified some unique risk factors in this population, such as having high amounts of the protein albumin in the urine. This knowledge has led to new clinical calculators that doctors can use to assess the risk of developing ischemic heart disease and diabetes. Advancing research for improved health. Our Division of Intramural Research , which includes investigators from our Cardiovascular Branch and Population Sciences Branch , is engaged in research on diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels, including ischemic heart disease.
The research we fund today will help improve future health. Our Division of Cardiovascular Sciences oversees much of the research on ischemic heart disease we fund, helping us to understand, prevent, and manage ischemic heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
Through the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science , we plan, foster, and support research to identify the best strategies for ensuring successful integration of evidence-based interventions within clinical and public health settings, such as health centers, worksites, communities, and schools in the United States and abroad.
We stimulate high-impact research. Our Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine TOPMed program includes participants with ischemic heart disease, which may help us understand how genes contribute to differences in disease severity and how patients respond to treatment. The NHLBI Strategic Vision highlights ways in which we may support research over the next decade, including new efforts to understand ischemic heart disease. The NHLBI is exploring the relationship between social and environmental exposures and the risk of ischemic heart disease.
Data from nearly 12 million people in Sweden will be used to construct a database linking anonymous health records, environmental records, and death records collected over two or more decades. This NHLBI-supported project will increase knowledge about how social and physical neighborhood exposures influence ischemic heart disease risk in different population groups and across different stages of life.
The NHLBI is studying the association between sleep deficiency and health problems, including ischemic heart disease and its risk factors. About 50 to 70 million Americans have sleep or wakefulness disorders. Another study funded by the NHLBI is using wrist-worn devices and telephone interviews to study the effects of sleep apnea on women's risk for ischemic heart disease and other serious health problems. Visit To Sleep or Not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration.
Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD affects heart disease risk factors. We support a study to find out whether a therapy for PTSD affects risk of ischemic heart disease. The study could help inform strategies for ischemic heart disease prevention and guide medical management for vulnerable men and women with PTSD. Determining the most effective therapies to manage stable ischemic heart disease.
The International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches ISCHEMIA is a 5,participant, site international trial comparing invasive and conservative strategies to prevent heart and vascular events in patients with stable ischemic heart disease.
What do your genes say about your ischemic heart disease risk? This study is examining genes to see which ones might contribute to ischemic heart disease risk. To participate in this study, you must be a nonsmoker between ages 45 and This study is located in Bethesda, Maryland. View more information about ClinSeq: This study is using coronary angiography to image the arteries of people who are at risk for ischemic heart disease and are taking statins to determine whether the drugs help reduce the amount of plaque in their arteries.
To participate in this study, men must be between ages 45 and 75, and women must be between ages 50 and This study is examining how sex and body size influence whether African Americans will develop ischemic heart disease.
To participate in this study, you must be a healthy African American between the ages of 18 and 50, and you must not have diabetes. This study is testing whether a fish oil with high content of omega fatty acid can contribute to a healthy lipid profile and decrease the risk of heart disease. To participate in this study, you must be 18 years old or older.
Women should not be breastfeeding or using oral contraceptives.
Heart disease is the number one killer, but can you identify the risks?
Learn about heart disease symptoms, risk factors and prevention, as well as information on heart attack, heart failure, and heart health. Learn more from WebMD about risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. Overwhelmed with information? Start here. Learn the facts about how the heart works -- and the causes and risk factors for heart disease.