Health & Wellness

Heart Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a term that includes several specific heart conditions. It is also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary artery disease (CAD).

What causes heart disease?

Cardiovascular diseases include diseases that are caused by the narrowing, hardening and thickening of the arteries due to a buildup of plaque. Plaque is a mixture of fatty and other substances including cholesterol and other lipids. When there is a buildup of plague, blood flow to the heart is reduced and can lead to heart attacks.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

  • Chest Discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body- This may include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath – This often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
  • Other Symptoms – These may include breaking out in a cold sweat or experiencing nausea or light–headedness.

Are symptoms of a heart attack different for women than men?

Yes, in many instances. Women may have all, none, many or a few of the typical heart attack symptoms. For women, as for men, the most common symptom of a heart attack is chest discomfort. Women are more likely to also have symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or “heartburn”
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue

What can I do to prevent heart disease or heart attack?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Strive for good nutrition
  • Have your blood cholesterol checked yearly
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Prevent and control diabetes
  • No tobacco
  • See your doctor regularly


To find out more about Heart Disease you can visit the websites listed below:


If you would like to speak with a nurse regarding more information about Heart Disease, please call Total Health Care at 1-800-826-2862 ext. 6441 or enroll in our free Heart Disease Management Program online.