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What is Heart Disease?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is heart disease?

A. Heart disease includes a group of diseases and conditions affecting the heart. It is one component of cardiovascular disease, which also includes diseases of the vascular system (blood vessels). The leading type of heart disease is coronary artery disease. It is caused by the gradual buildup of fatty plaque deposits in the coronary arteries—a process called atherosclerosis.

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Q. How common is heart disease?

A. Around 27 million Americans have heart disease and it is the leading cause of death among both males and females in the United States. Cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) claims more lives each year than the next four leading causes of death combined: cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, and diabetes.

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Q. Can I reduce my risk of developing heart disease?

A. Yes. There are several established risk factors for heart disease that are controllable. These include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. Some risk factors are not controllable, including family history of heart disease, increasing age, and male gender.

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Q. Which Life Line Screening blood screenings check for heart disease risk factors?

A. Life Line Screening offers three finger-stick blood screenings and one ultrasound screening that identify key risk factors for heart disease: the complete lipid panel screening, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein screening, the ankle-brachial index screening (for peripheral arterial disease), and the glucose screening (for type 2 diabetes).

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Q. How accurate is the Life Line Screening complete lipid panel screening?

A. We use the Cardiochek® point of care system for our blood tests. FDA-approved and certified by the Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network, this system meets the optimal standards outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cholesterol Education Program. Cardiochek equipment is used nationwide in physician offices, hospitals, and pharmacies.

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