More American heart facts
- Of the 50 million Americans who
have high blood pressure (the leading contributor to heart disease)
35 percent don't know they have it. High blood pressure is easily
detectable and usually controllable.
- Almost 1 out of every 2.4 deaths
in the USA result from CVD.
- Since 1900, CVD has been the leading
cause of death in every year but one - 1918.
- About every 29 seconds an American
will suffer a coronary event.
- About every 60 seconds, someone
dies from one.
- At least 250,000 people die of heart
attacks each year before they reach a hospital.
- Half of all heart attack victims
wait more than two hours before getting help.
- CVD is the cause of more deaths
than the next 7 causes of death put together.
- It is a myth that heart disease
is a man's disease. In fact, cardiovascular diseases are the number
one killer of women (and men). These diseases currently claim the
lives of more than a half a million females every year - more than
the next 16 causes of death put together.
- In 57 percent of men and 64 percent
of women who died suddenly from CVD, there were no previous symptoms
of the disease.
- The cost of CVD in 1999 is estimated
at $286.5 billion - an increase of about $12 billion from last year.
- Stroke killed 159,942 people in
- On average, someone in the US suffers
a stroke every 53 seconds.
- On average, someone dies from stroke
every 3 minutes 20 seconds.
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CVD kills 4 million Europeans each
year. It's the No 1 cause of death.
Deaths before the age of 75
- It causes 49% of all European deaths:
55% deaths (women); 43% (men).
- About half of all deaths from CVD
are from heart disease and nearly a third are from stroke.
- Over one in five women (22%) and
men (21%) die from the disease.
- CVD kills 1.5 million EU citizens
each year. It's the No 1 cause of death in the EU.
- It causes 42% of all deaths in the
EU: 46% of deaths (women) and 38% deaths (men).
- Between a third and a half of deaths
from CVD are from heart disease, and 25% from stroke.
- CVD is the main cause of death for
women in all 15 countries of the EU and it is the main cause of
death for men in all these countries except France.
CVD is the main cause of deaths before the age of 75 in Europe: accounting
for nearly 2 million deaths each year.
CVD is the second main cause of deaths before the age of 75 in the EU:
accounting for over 460,000 deaths. CVD causes 31% of deaths; cancer
causes 36% of deaths.
Deaths before the age of 65
CVD is the main cause of deaths before the age of 65 in Europe: accounting
for over 800,000 deaths each year.
CVD is the second main cause of deaths
before the age of 65 in the EU: accounting for over 170,000 deaths.
CVD causes 22% of deaths; but cancer causes 35% of deaths.
CVD is the main cause of deaths before
the age of 65 for men in six EU countries - Austria, Finland, Greece,
Ireland, Sweden and the UK. For women it is not the main cause of
deaths before the age of 65 for any country in the EU.
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A heart-attack occurs when
we develop a blockage in one of the arteries supplying blood to our
heart. A stroke is the result of a blockage in one of the arteries
to our brain. In either case, the story is the same. Lack of blood
stops the heart or brain from working so it shuts down and we collapse.
How does an arterial-blockage occur?
It occurs as a result of a combination of things.
It occurs as a result of a combination of things.
- Over time, the wall of our artery
becomes diseased or ‘corroded’.
- As our blood passes through this
corroded section, it dumps some of the fat which it is carrying,
and this fat forms a bulge in the wall of the artery. Result? In
the same way that double-parking narrows a road and causes a slow
down in the flow of traffic, this fatty bulge narrows the width
of the artery and slows down the flow of blood as it passes around
- If the blood flow gets too
slow, and if tiny bits break off the bulge in the wall –
clogging up the blood even more – the blood will form a spontaneous
clot, completely blocking the artery.
Causes And Risk-factors
Of Heart Attacks And Strokes
We Can't Change
Certain factors increase the risk of a
heart attack. Some can be changed, while others are inherited. The major
factors individuals can't change include: age, gender and heredity.
Four out of five deaths from the disease are in people over age 65.
In this age group, women are twice as likely to die from heart attacks
- Women are more likely to die from
heart disease than from all forms of cancer, chronic lung disease,
pneumonia, diabetes, accidents and AIDS combined.
- However, men have a greater life-long
risk of heart attack, and experience attacks earlier in life.
You're at greater risk if your parents had heart disease.
We Can Change
The major factors individuals can change
include: smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure,
obesity, physical inactivity and being overweight.
Smokers have twice as high a risk of heart attack as nonsmokers, and
have two to four times the risk of sudden cardiac death. Smokers are
also more likely to die quickly and suddenly than nonsmokers.
High blood pressure
African-Americans have the highest death rates from the disease. This
may be due to their higher rates of high blood pressure; about 1 in
3 black adults have high blood pressure, compared to about 1 in 4
white adults. High blood pressure is also generally more severe among
elderly African-Americans than elderly whites, leading to more cases
of strokes, heart disease and kidney failure.
Cholesterol and cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of your body.
It helps make cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. Cholesterol
comes from two sources: your body and the foods you eat.
- Blood cholesterol is made in your
liver. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your
- Dietary cholesterol comes from animal
foods like meats, whole milk dairy foods, egg yolks, poultry and
- Eating too much dietary cholesterol
can make your blood cholesterol go up. Foods from plants, like vegetables,
fruits, grains, and cereals, do not have any dietary cholesterol.
The 2 types of cholesterol - (1)
LDL (bad), (2) HDL (good)
Like oil and water, cholesterol and blood do not mix. So, for cholesterol
to travel through your blood, it is coated with a layer of protein
to make a "lipoprotein." The two lipoproteins are low density lipoprotein
(LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL).
- LDL-cholesterol carries most of
the cholesterol in the blood. When too much LDL-cholesterol is in
the blood, it can lead to cholesterol buildup in the arteries. That
is why LDL-cholesterol is called the "bad" cholesterol.
- HDL-cholesterol helps remove cholesterol
from the blood and helps prevent the fatty buildup. This is
why HDL-cholesterol is called the "good" cholesterol.
High cholesterol increases the risk
of coronary heart disease. It makes the heart pump more and faster,
causing it to weaken. The risk is compounded with other factors, such
as smoking and high blood pressure. On the average, each of these
doubles your chance of developing heart disease. Therefore, a person
who has all three risk factors is eight times more likely to develop
heart disease than someone who has none. Diabetes, obesity and physical
inactivity are other factors that can lead to coronary heart disease.
Things That Affect Blood Cholesterol
Your blood cholesterol level is influenced by many factors, including:
What you eat
High intake of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and excess calories
leading to overweight leads to increased blood cholesterol levels.
It is now universally recognized that a diet which is high in
fat, particularly saturated fat, and low in complex carbohydrates,
fruit and vegetables increases the risk of chronic diseases - particularly
heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Being overweight can make your LDL-cholesterol level go up and your
HDL-cholesterol level go down.
Increased physical activity lowers LDL-cholesterol and raises HDL-cholesterol
Your genes partly influence how your body makes and handles cholesterol.
Age and Sex
Blood cholesterol levels in both men and women begin to go up around
age 20. Women before menopause have levels that are lower than men
of the same age. After menopause, a woman's LDL-cholesterol level
goes up - and so her risk for heart disease increases.
Individuals who don't exercise and/or are obese also put themselves
at greater risk.
Excess weight strains the heart; influences blood pressure, blood
cholesterol and tri-glyceride levels; and increases the risk of diabetes.
Diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease. Heart disease kills
more than 80% of people with diabetes.
Stress may also contribute to the development of heart disease, because
people may overeat, exercise less or smoke more when they're under
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Angina And Heart Attacks
- People with narrowed arteries may experience angina, a discomfort
caused by inadequate blood flow. Individuals may experience pain
in the chest, arms, neck or back - generally lasting up to 20 minutes
after any form of exertion - and have it consistently in the same
area, such as the chest.
- Heart attack- "A
tight gripping sensation"..."A crushing sensation"..."Great
heaviness or great weight across the chest." The pain is
usually felt not on the left hand side of the chest but across the
center of the chest or across the upper abdomen. It frequently moves
into the arms or the throat. People often say it is the worst pain
they have ever experienced.
- The typical heart attack victim
has usually felt normal until the attack begins. Then he/she will
look pale, often sweats, has cold skin and is usually breathless.
- If the heart disease leads to
a heart attack, women are more likely than men to experience
nausea or vomiting instead of the violent chest pain that characterizes
a heart attack for men. In fact, women sometimes feel no chest pain
during a heart attack.
- You should call your doctor if you
experience severe or prolonged angina that lasts longer
than 10 to 15 minutes; pain that spreads to the neck, arms or shoulders;
or pain along with shortness of breath, nausea, fainting or sweating.
If you experience these symptoms, you may be having a heart
- Chest pains that usually
aren't caused by heart problems last under five seconds in different
parts of the chest, and are caused by deep breaths or movements,
- Less common signs of a heart
attack include unexplained fatigue, weakness or anxiety.