Heart Disease Information
Heart disease is a general term that refers to a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions that affect one or more of the components of the heart. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Every 60 seconds, a person in America dies of heart disease. It is responsible for more than one in five deaths and nearly 700,000 deaths per year in the United States. Heart diseases may be acute or chronic, meaning it may be a one time deal or something that stays with you for quite some time.
Heart diseases generally have a variety of signs and symptoms that frequently change and worsen over time. Patients with early heart disease may experience few or vague symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and/or nausea; however, these symptoms alone do not ensure that you may have heart disease.
There are well known risk factors for heart disease. They include a family history of heart disease (if more than one of your uncles, grandparents had heart disease, you're also at risk too), being a male, blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes type 2, hypertension, physical inactivity and obesity, and tobacco.
Overwhelming evidence indicates that hypercholesterolemia (a fancy word for high cholesterol) and other lipid abnormalities increase your risk factor for heart disease. Risk increases greatly with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol and declines with higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol. There are different risk scores that your physician can provide that provide estimates of 10-year probability of developing heart disease.
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