What does a heart disease "cause of death" mean?


Quick Answer

When heart disease is the cause of death, a person dies from a heart problem such as narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, malfunctioning valves or insufficient pumping, MedlinePlus explains. Abnormal heartbeats, either too fast, too slow or irregular, also cause deadly heart disease, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Other forms of heart disease occur when the heart muscle thickens, stiffens or weakens, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infection sometimes sets into the tissue surrounding the heart, its muscular middle walls or the inner membrane. Some people are born with defects in their hearts that lead to disease symptoms.

Twenty-five percent of deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease, the CDC relates. This is true for African-Americans, Hispanics and whites. Among American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, only cancer kills more than heart disease. More men and women die from heart disease than any other cause. From 2008 to 2010, heart disease was deadliest in the southern part of the United States and least common in the western states.

Americans with high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol or smoking habits are especially at risk for heart disease, warns the CDC. Other contributing factors are diabetes, obesity, insufficient diet, low activity level and alcohol abuse.

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