Heart disease refers to several different conditions affecting the function or structures of the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for around one in four deaths each year.
Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease, claiming the lives of more than 360,000 Americans annually. Other common types of heart disease include abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmia; heart failure, in which the heart does not pump blood around the body as effectively as it should; cardiomyopathies, or diseases of the heart muscle; and heart attacks, which occur due to blockages in the arteries feeding the heart.
Certain medical conditions increase the risk of developing heart disease, including hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes. Lifestyle factors can also increase the likelihood of patients developing heart disease, for example, obesity, poor diet, smoking, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption.
A healthy lifestyle, for example, eating healthily, losing excess weight, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and exercising can reduce the chance that heart disease will develop.