How CAD fits within the heart disease continuum
It's important to protect your heart, including getting tested if you have risk factors for CAD and getting treatment if you need it. Heart disease can progress over time, a process that is sometimes called the heart disease continuum. Learn more about the heart disease continuum.
Taking preventative measures to improve your health at any point along this continuum can alter the progression of heart disease. This means that if you have risk factors for CAD, have been diagnosed with CAD, or have had a heart attack, you can still work to improve your health, and may even be able to prevent CAD or a future heart attack from occurring if you take the proper steps. This can require treatment and monitoring, along with changes to your lifestyle.
The first step is being aware of any risk factors you may have. These include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. You are also at risk if you smoke or are overweight or obese. If you have any of these risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor so you can take steps to help prevent CAD. Learn more about CAD risk factors.
How many Americans are affected by CAD?
CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 81,100,000 American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, there is much you can do to control CAD once it has been diagnosed.
What populations are prone to CAD?
CAD doesn't discriminate. It can affect both men and women of any ethnic background. But certain factors can increase your risk for this condition, including the following:
- Age: Heart problems become more of a risk as you get older. About 1 in 6 Americans age 65 and older has CAD. After age 65, the likelihood that a person will develop CAD increases every year.
- Sex: Men are more prone to CAD than women, but the risk for women increases after menopause, and heart disease is still the number one killer of women in the United States.
- Hereditary and ethnic background: If heart disease runs in your family, you have an increased risk of developing it as well. People of certain ethnic backgrounds also have a higher likelihood of developing CAD. African Americans have a higher incidence of high blood pressure and are at greater risk of developing heart disease. Mexican Americans and Native Americans are also at a higher risk for developing CAD.