What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a leading killer of both men and women in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year. With so much at stake, now is the time to be aware of the warning signs of heart disease and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to a number of conditions that affect the heart. This includes heart defects that you’re born with, diseases of the blood vessels or arteries, and heart rhythm problems, among others.

 People with heart disease are at risk of both heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest. Heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart is blocked. During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating abruptly and blood ceases to flow to the brain and other organs.

Sudden cardiac arrest may occur after a heart attack, and most people who experience sudden cardiac arrest die within a few minutes without resuscitation from CPR or a defibrillator. The majority of sudden cardiac deaths occur in men.