Heart Disease: General Information

Names and Terminology for Heart Disease


Abnormality of the heart ; Cardiac abnormality ; Cardiac anomalies

Source: GTR (NCBI/NIH)1

   •   •   •

Back to: « Heart Disease


Category of heart disease:



Category of heart disease:



Category of Heart Disease:



Categories for Heart Disease may include:5 Category of Heart Disease:

Prevalence of Heart Disease

Every year, Americans suffer more than 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes. Nearly 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease and stroke.

Source: CDC DHDSP6

   •   •   •

An estimated 4.2 million people were living with CVD in 2014-15, and it generally has a greater impact on males, the elderly, Indigenous Australians and people living in remote and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare7

Geographic Factors for Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of disease and death in Australia.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare8

Gender and Heart Disease

Before age 55, women seem to have a lower risk of heart disease than men. After age 55, however, the risk of heart disease increases similarly in both women and men.

Source: NHLBI (NIH)9

   •   •   •

Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.

Source: CDC Features10

   •   •   •

For the first time, women are as likely as men to die from many of the diseases caused by smoking. These include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease.

Source: CDC Features11

   •   •   •

Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.

Source: CDC DHDSP12

   •   •   •

Heart disease and women

In the United States, almost one in four women dies from heart disease. Heart disease is the most common cause of death in American women.[1] Some types of heart problems are more common in women.

Source: OWH (DHHS)13

   •   •   •

Women generally have the same CHD risk factors as men. However, some risk factors may affect women differently from men. For example, diabetes raises the risk of CHD more in women. Also, some risk factors, such as birth control pills and menopause, only affect women.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)14

Race/Ethnicity and Heart Disease

We're all at risk for heart disease and stroke. People of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities are affected. However, certain groups—including African Americans and older individuals are at higher risk than others.

Source: CDC Features15

   •   •   •

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.[3]

Source: CDC DHDSP16

   •   •   •

Heart disease disproportionately affects women of color. African American and Hispanic women, in particular, have high rates of the major risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The program's objectives recognize the critical need to eliminate health inequities by placing an emphasis on reaching African American and Hispanic women with heart health awareness messages and science-based public education information.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)17

   •   •   •

Ethnic background

In the UK, CVD is more common in people of South Asian and African or Caribbean background.

This is because people from these backgrounds are more likely to have other risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Source: NHS Choices UK18

More Information about Heart Disease

Heart Health for Women

Learn how to protect your heart health by reading the newly updated booklet The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women. This easy-to-use guide is packed with the latest information on heart disease, the #1 killer of women.

Read practical advice on reducing the major heart disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and being overweight. You’ll find tips on following a nutritious eating plan, creating a physical activity plan, working in partnership with your doctor and getting the whole family involved in heart-healthy living. Quizzes, charts and the latest health statistics provide information you’ll need to estimate your risk and control and prevent heart-related problems.

The full-color booklet is available for $4 or can be viewed online without charge. Go to http://emall.nhlbihin.net/product2.asp?sku=07-2720 or call 301-592-8573.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)19

   •   •   •

A new NIH publication called Your Guide to Physical Activity and Your Heart has easy-to-understand information on the power of physical activity to keep you healthy.

The 44-page guide is full of practical tips, including simple ways you can incorporate physical activity into your everyday life, such as:

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Start with one flight and gradually build up to more.
  • Park a few blocks from the office or store and walk the rest of the way. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk a few blocks.
  • While working, take frequent activity breaks. Get up and stretch, walk around and give your muscles and mind a change of pace.


  • Instead of eating that extra snack, take a brisk stroll around the neighborhood or your office building.
  • Do housework, gardening or yard work at a more vigorous pace.
  • When you travel, walk around the train station, bus station or airport rather than sitting and waiting.

Download this and other easy-to-read, science-based guides to improving your health for free at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/yourguide, or order them by calling 301-592-8573, 240-629-3255 (TTY).

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)20

   •   •   •

Find Out More

MedlinePlus heart information


NHLBI's The Heart Truth educational campaign


NHLBI's Heart Disease in Women Health Topic


NIHSeniorHealth Heart and Lungs information


DHHS Office of Women's Health heart information


Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)21

   •   •   •


  1. Source: GTR (NCBI/NIH): ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ gtr/ conditions/ CN001482/ 
  2. Source: Disease Ontology
  3. Source: Monarch Initiative
  4. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  5. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  6. Source: CDC DHDSP: cdc.gov/ dhdsp/ data_statistics/ fact_sheets/ fs_aa.htm
  7. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/ overview
  8. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/ about
  9. Source: NHLBI (NIH): nhlbi.nih.gov/ health/ health-topics/ topics/ dhd/ atrisk
  10. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ Features/ WearRed/ index.html
  11. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ features/ 2014smokingreport/ index.html
  12. Source: CDC DHDSP: cdc.gov/ dhdsp/ data_statistics/ fact_sheets/ fs_women_heart.htm
  13. Source: OWH (DHHS): womenshealth.gov/ heart-disease-and-stroke/ heart-disease/ heart-disease-and-women
  14. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ winter14/ articles/ winter14pg25.html
  15. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ features/ AfricanAmericanHistory/ index.html
  16. Source: CDC DHDSP: cdc.gov/ dhdsp/ data_statistics/ fact_sheets/ fs_heart_disease.htm
  17. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ winter14/ articles/ winter14pg22-23.html
  18. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Cardiovascular-disease/ 
  19. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2007/ June/ docs/ 02capsules.htm
  20. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2006/ September/ docs/ 02capsules.htm
  21. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ winter14/ articles/ winter14pg20.html

   •   •   •

Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.