Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill over 800,000 Americans each year, accounting for one in every three deaths. It’s the nation’s number one killer among both men and women and the leading cause of health disparities across the population.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease can refer to several conditions including heart disease, peripheral artery disease and stroke. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease can include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, pain or numbness in your legs or arms, and pain in the back, upper abdomen, throat, jaw or neck.
Symptoms of cardiovascular disease may be different for women and men
Atherosclerosis, or the building up plaque in your arteries, is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis can be caused by unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.
Risk factors for heart disease include age, sex (men are generally at greater risk), family history, smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and stress.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent and treat many forms of heart disease
If you are taking medication for cardiovascular disease, be sure to take your medications on time and as directed. Seek emergency medical care if you are experiencing these symptoms of heart disease: chest pain, shortness of breath and fainting.
According to self-reported data from the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: