One fact about heart disease is that each year, one in four people in the United States die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women and the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease.
Each year, around 735,000 people have a heart attack, with more than 525,000 of those heart attacks being first heart attacks. Heart disease strikes every ethnic group in the United States, and in 2008, 25 percent of whites, 24.5 percent of African Americans, and 21 percent of Hispanics died from a heart-related illness, reports the CDC.
Most people know that chest pain is an early warning sign of a heart attack, but many do not know the other signs. Besides chest pain, many patients feel a shortness of breath, pain that radiates throughout the arms, jaw, back and neck, and a feeling of nausea and lightheadedness. It is important to know these symptoms since around 47 percent of cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital.
People at risk for heart disease include those who are overweight or obese, patients dealing with diabetes or high blood pressure, people who regularly consume alcohol to excess, and those with high LDL cholesterol.
To lower the risk of a heart attack, increase physical activity, stop smoking, and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, states the CDC.