Heart Disease

I wanted to do some education on heart disease for us today. So I stole some facts from the CDC website about heart disease to start off with:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
  • One person dies every 33 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.
  • About 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2021—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths.
  • Heart disease costs the United States about $239.9 billion annually from 2018 to 2019.3 This includes healthcare services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.


So those are some intense statistics. EVERY 33 SECONDS! So, it’s important for you to understand that the odds are THIS problem is the one that will most likely get you. And me too. I am not saying to ignore other health concerns, but you must take your heart health seriously.

One big question you may consider (I did) is: “what does “heart disease” mean?” Disease of the heart is the “duh!” answer, but more specifically, this term covers many different illnesses. The heart is a very cool organ that has many aspects to it. I won’t bore you with all of it, but here are a few key facts.

The heart, for the most part, is a muscle; its job is to pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen and then around the body to give oxygen to the tissues. But did you consider that the heart, like any muscle, also needs oxygen and blood flow?! So, the heart’s very first job is to pump blood TO ITSELF! If anything messes that up, we have got problems.

Like any pump, the heart has valves to keep blood flowing in the right direction. The heart has special muscle fibers that carry electricity to tell the different parts of it when to pump. There’s a sack around the heart to contain it and protect it.

So, what is heart disease? All the different things that can mess up the blood flow to the heart, the muscle of the heart, the valves, the electrical conduction, the sack, and so on. So that’s a big list.

So next week, I’ll be talking about the most common problems of the heart.

Jeff Davenport,MD