What Is Heart Disease?

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The key to lowering your risk is prevention, early detection and advanced treatment. 

Heart disease refers to a plaque buildup or blockage inside of one or more of the arteries that feed your heart. This buildup is known as atherosclerosis and is caused by hardening of the artery wall or fatty particles sticking to the artery wall. This buildup can reduce the blood flow to the heart muscle. As a result, your heart may not get all of the oxygen-rich blood it needs. Atherosclerosis can occur in any or all of the three main arteries of the heart: the right coronary artery, the left anterior descending artery, or the left circumflex artery. Branches of the main arteries may also be affected.

If heart disease runs in your family, you may inherit a tendency for the disease. It can also be caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices.

Risk Factors of Heart Disease:

  • high blood pressure
  • cigarette smoking
  • high fat diet
  • being overweight
  • lack of exercise
  • emotional stress