State Agencies | Online Services

Heart Disease

Did you know that each minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event?

In 2014, heart disease accounted for 23 percent of Ohio deaths and stroke was the 5th leading cause of death (4.9%). Absenteeism from the workplace and medical expenses due to heart disease accounted for approximately $7.6 billion per year in Ohio according to 2010 estimates2.

What is it?

Heart Disease refers to any illness or condition of the heart. It is caused by a multifaceted set of risk factors that include genetic, environmental, and behavioral characteristics. About half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these contributing risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and/or tobacco use1.  Types of heart disease include but are not limited to coronary heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

Coronary Heart Disease

In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), killing over 360,000 people in 2014.1 CHD is a result of coronary artery disease (CAD), although the two terms are frequently used interchangably.5 It occurs when plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and other substances, builds up on the walls of the coronary arteries. This slow process is most commonly known as atherosclerosis. The buildup of plaque causes the coronary arteries to become narrow; making it harder for blood to flow to the heart.4

Heart Attack

Your heart is a large muscle that needs oxygen and nutrients to survive and function. Both oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the heart through your arteries via blood flow. When there is a severe decrease in blood flow, depriving the heart completely of oxygen, a heart attack can occur.4 Common causes of a heart attack include4:

  • CAD
  • Severe spasms that stop blood flow to the heart

Heart attacks can be very frightening. Did you know approximately every 34 seconds 1 American has a coronary event, and approximately every 1 minute 42 seconds an American will die of one3.

Time is of the Essence

It is important for you to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack because the more time that passes without treatment, the greater the damage to the heart. Are you aware that 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—meaning that there is damage to the heart but the person is not aware of it.




Men: Women:
  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
  • Unusual chest pain (pain that is sharp and temporary).
  • Stomach, back or arm pain.
  • Nausea or dizziness, without chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, without chest pain.
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Heart palpitations, cold sweat or paleness.

**Note: Not all women are aware that heart attack symptoms can be different than men. Women are more likely to experience other, less common warning signs of heart attack.

The signs may be mild or severe.  If you or someone you know is having any of these signs call 9-1-1 to get help right away!

Additional resources:
Understand Your Risk Factors and ways to address them.
Top 10 Myths of Cardiovascular Disease
Million Hearts



Last Updated: 3/14/2017