Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the leading source of death in the United States. Currently, CVD accounts for nearby 28.5 percent of all deaths. CVD is a blanket term used to describe diseases and conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease or Cardiovascular disease (CHD), stroke, peripheral vascular disease, congenital heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. More than a third of the adult population in the United States has some form of heart and blood vessel disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that if all deaths from major types of CVD were eliminated, life expectancy in the United States would increase by about 7 years.
According to the CDC, about 60 percent o~ deaths from heart disease are sudden and unexpected, with no previous symptoms of the disease. Almost half of these deaths occur outside of the hospital most likely because the individuals failed to recognize early warning symptoms of a heart attack.
The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates the cost of heart and blood vessel disease in the United States to be about $290 billion per year. About 1.5 million people have new or recurrent heart attacks and strokes each year, and more than 40 percent of them die as a result, including
some 375,000 deaths from Cardiovascular disease and close to 130,000 stroke deaths. More than half of these deaths occur within 1 hour of the onset of symptoms, before the person reaches the hospital.
Most Prevalent Forms of Cardiovascular Disease
Of the many forms of Cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease ( CHD) and stroke are responsible for the most deaths from CVD in the United States. Coronary heart disease is a term used to describe the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when an artery is blocked, depriving the heart muscle of necessary oxygen. A stroke, in turn, is sometimes described as a “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to die from the lack of oxygen.