Heart Disease

By: Eric LaPointe

Top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2013

1. Heart disease - 611,105

2. Cancer - 584,881

3. Chronic lower respiratory disease - 149,205

4. Accidents - 130,557

5. Stroke - 128,978

6. Alzheimer's disease - 84,767

7. Diabetes - 75,578

8. Influenza and pneumonia - 56,979

9. Kidney disease - 47,112

10. Suicide- 41,149

Why is heart disease the number one killer in the United States?


Plaque- Deposits made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances in the blood.

Coronary Arteries- Arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Cardiovascular Disease- A condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries.

Understanding Heart Disease (Heart Basics #1)

Tests and Diagnosis

Besides blood tests and a chest X-ray, tests to diagnose heart disease include:

Electrocardiogram (ECG) - Records electrical signals that detect irregularities in the heart's rhythm and structure.

Holter monitoring - A portable device worn around a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Detects heart rhythm irregularities that aren't found during a regular ECG exam.

Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan- Lie on a table inside a doughnut shaped machine. X-rays produce images of the heart and chest.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - Lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field. The magnetic field produces pictures.


Lifestyle changes- Eat a low-fat and low-sodium diet. Exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.

Medications- If lifestyle changes are not enough, doctors can prescribe medications.

Procedures or surgery- If medications are not enough, surgery specific to the type of heart disease may be needed.

Conclusion- Why is heart disease the number one killer in the United States?

. Increases risk of heart attacks, which can not be predicted.

. Affects both men and women.

. Affects obese people.

. People do not recognize their symptoms in time to get proper treatment.


About heart disease (no date) Available at: http://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/about-heart-disease/ (Accessed: 26 February 2016).

Advanced heart disease program (no date) Available at: http://www.sphcs.org/advancedheartdiseaseprogram (Accessed: 23 March 2016).

CDC (2015) Heart disease facts. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm (Accessed: 26 February 2016).

Nichols, H. and Webberley, H. (2015) The top 10 leading causes of death in the US. Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php (Accessed: 26 February 2016).

Staff, M.C. (2014) ‘Heart disease tests and diagnosis’, Mayoclinic, .

Staff, M.C. (2014) ‘Heart disease treatments and drugs’, Mayoclinic, .