What is heart disease?
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack.
What are the symptoms of heart disease?
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. When these events happen, symptoms may include1
- Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
- Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
- Heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.
► About 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2020—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths. Learn more facts.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of people in the United States (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.2 Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including
Learn about how heart disease and mental health disorders are related.
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart Attack
- Men and Heart Disease
- Women and Heart Disease
- Other Related Conditions
What is cardiac rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or some types of heart surgery. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes
- Physical activity
- Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medicine 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 health care team, exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors or mental health professionals.
► Test your knowledge of heart disease!
CDC’s Public Health Efforts Related to Heart Disease
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. About Multiple Cause of Death, 1999–2020. CDC WONDER Online Database website. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022.
- Tsao CW, Aday AW, Almarzooq ZI, Beaton AZ, Bittencourt MS, Boehme AK, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2022 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2022;145(8):e153–e639.
- Virani SS, Alonso A, Aparicio HJ, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2021 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021;143:e254–e743.