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Heart Disease

Heart disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease, is Alabama's single leading cause of death. Coronary Artery Disease, the most common type of heart disease, can result in heart attack, which can be highly preventable by modifying risk factors.

Types of Cardiovascular Diseases and Definitions

Heart Attack

A heart attack also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a section of the heart muscle dies or gets damaged because of reduced blood supply. Coronary Artery Disease is the leading cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm of a coronary artery, which also can prevent blood supply from reaching the heart.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Otherwise, further damage to the heart muscle can occur and an irregular heart rhythm may develop. Sudden cardiac arrest - the stopping of the heart - occurs when the heart stops completely. Unless treated, a person whose heart has stopped will die within minutes.

If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest and use an automated external defibrillator, or AED, anytime one is available.

This video from the American Heart Association shows the proper way to administer hands-only CPR:

February is National Heart Month

February is the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take to help your heart. Heart disease can happen at any age. Half of Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking). Click on the links below to learn what you can do to prevent and manage conditions that in turn keep your heart healthy. 

How Much Do You Know About Heart Disease Quiz


Page last updated: May 29, 2024