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About Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. It happens when cholesterol and other substances build up in your blood. This buildup can block the flow of blood and cause a heart attack or stroke.

There are three common types of heart disease:

     Coronary Artery Disease: Occurs when blood has a hard time getting to the heart, so the heart does not get all the blood it needs.
     Heart Failure: Occurs when the heart’s pumping power is not as strong as usual, so the organs that usually get blood from the heart do not get enough of it.
     Heart Arrhythmia: Occurs when there are changes in the beat of the heart – you may have a few flutters, or your heart may race once in a while – so the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body.

What is quality care for heart disease?

Getting care for heart disease, especially high quality care, is a must. What is high quality care? It’s getting the care you need when you need it. High quality heart care starts with having a doctor who respects you, communicates clearly with you, and involves you in decisions about your care. Quality care is care that works, care that's safe, and care that’s recommended for your condition – in this case, heart disease. This means receiving certain blood tests regularly and getting help managing blood pressure and/or cholesterol if they are too high.  If you'd like to learn more about heart disease, visit our heart disease resources page.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2010) How to describe the health and community context for comparative performance reports: sample language for five health topics. Princeton, NJ.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010).  Heart Disease. Retrieved from

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