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What is Heart Disease?

The term heart disease refers to a number of conditions that result in the heart not being able to work properly. Examples of heart disease include:

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)

  • Heart failure

  • Heart valve disease

  • Heart muscle disease

  • Congenital heart disease

The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the rest of the body.
Heart disease may occur when the heart muscle itself does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood, causing problems such as angina (chest pain) and heart attack. It can also involve arrhythmia, which is when the heart beats irregularly or abnormally.


Changes in the function or structure of the heart muscle or heart valves can also cause heart problems. The good news is that some types of heart disease can be prevented! Speak with your doctor or pharmacist for more information on heart disease prevention strategies. Refer to the  Doctor Discussion Guide for more information and questions you might want to ask your doctor about heart health.

The Different Types of Heart Disease

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. In CAD, the arteries carrying blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries) become lined with plaque, which contains materials such as cholesterol and fat. This plaque buildup (called atherosclerosis) causes the arteries to narrow, allowing less oxygen to reach the heart muscle than it needs to work properly. When the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen, chest pain (angina) or a heart attack
    can occur.

  • Arrhythmia is an irregular or abnormal heartbeat. This can be a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), 
    a fast heartbeat (tachycardia), or an irregular heartbeat. Some of the most common arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation (when the atria or upper heart chambers contract irregularly), premature ventricular contractions (extra beats that originate from the lower heart chambers, or ventricles), and bradyarrhythmias (slow heart rhythm caused by disease of the heart's conduction system).

  • Heart failure (congestive heart failure, or CHF) occurs when the heart is not able to pump sufficient oxygen-rich blood to meet the needs of the rest of the body. This may be due to a lack of force of the heart to pump or as a result of the heart not being able to fill with enough blood. Some people have both problems.

Causes of Heart Disease

The causes of heart disease are as varied as the types of heart disease. Some of the most common causes of heart disease include atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries"), changes
in the electrical activity of the heart, birth defects, and infections.

Reference: MedBroadcast

Risk factor infographics by


Hypertension (HPB)

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is blood pressure that is higher than normal.

Rates of High Blood Pressure Control Vary by Sex and Race

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is common; however, certain groups of people are more likely to have control over their high blood pressure than others.

  • A greater percentage of men (50%) have high blood pressure than women (44%).

  • High blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic black adults (56%) than in non-Hispanic white adults (48%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (46%), or Hispanic adults (39%).

  • Among those recommended to take blood pressure medication, blood pressure control is higher among non-Hispanic white adults (32%) than in non-Hispanic black adults (25%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (19%), or Hispanic adults (25%).


Rates of High Blood Pressure Vary by Geography

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is common; however, certain groups of people are more likely to have control over their high blood pressure than others.

  • High blood pressure is more common in some areas of the United States than in others. Below is a map showing the self-reported rate of hypertension by state in 2011 (using a definition of hypertension as a blood pressure ≥140/≥90 mmHg). However, this map likely underreports the true effect of hypertension in each state, because about 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure is unaware of it and would not report having it.

Facts About Hypertension in the United States

In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published new guidelines for hypertension management and defined high hypertension as a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mmHg. Stage 2 hypertension is defined as a blood pressure at or above 140/90 mmHg. 

  • Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.2

  • In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.2

  • Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension.3

  • Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control.3

  • About half of adults (45%) with uncontrolled hypertension have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. This includes 37 million U.S. adults. 3

  • About 34 million adults who are recommended to take medication may need it to be prescribed and to start taking it. Almost two out of three of this group (19 million) have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.3

  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 516,955 people in the United States in 2019.2

  • High blood pressure costs the United States about $131 billion each year, averaged over 12 years from 2003 to 2014.4

For more information about Hypertension (HBP/High Blood Pressure) please the CDC

Infographic provided by: Kuzma Advanced Dentistry


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