For the last several years, heart disease has been the leading cause of death in South Dakota. What is meant by the term heart disease as doctors use it in the United States? Many people have heard of a Heart Attack. A heart attack is certainly an obvious form of heart disease. Heart Attack, Angina (or chest pain), Atherosclerosis, and Ischemic Heart Disease all share the same basic underlying cause. These forms of heart disease occur when the heart muscle does not get as much oxygen as it needs. Generally, this is due to one or more of the heart’s arteries being blocked. (Other types of common artery blockages include Stroke and Peripheral Artery Disease).

Heart disease also includes other entities, such as Arrhythmia, Congenital Heart Disease, and Acquired Valve Disorders. Heart Failure is a very common form of heart disease, that has a variety of causes. As you can see, there are many meanings of the word heart disease. If you have been told you have heart disease and are unsure of the cause, please ask your regular primary care provider or cardiologist. It is essential that you know the type or your heart disease so that you can help to manage it and prevent complications!

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