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Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability among men and women in the United States. The American Heart Association estimates that every 25 seconds, someone in the U.S. will have a heart attack. Other startling facts about heart disease include:

  • One in every 2.8 deaths (35 percent) is caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • Compared to people at age 50 with high blood pressure, total life expectancy is 5.1 years longer for men with normal blood pressure, and 4.9 years longer for women with normal blood pressure.
  • Nearly 2,400 people in the United States die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds.
  • By losing even 10 pounds, you can lower your risk for heart disease.
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There are different types of heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This is called coronary artery disease and it is a major reason for heart attacks. When the coronary arteries are blocked, oxygen cannot get to the affected area of the heart and if the blockage lasts for more than a few minutes, permanent damage can occur. When a complete blockage occurs, it can cause a heart attack.

Fat, cholesterol and other deposits form "plaques" which build up in the artery’s walls. The process can take years and can be prevented or treated with dietary modifications, physical activity and by stopping smoking.

Other kinds of heart problems may affect the valves in the heart, or the heart muscle may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease, which is called congenital heart disease.

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Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Heart & Vascular Center

Cardiology Clinic at Mount Zion
1600 Divisadero St., Suite C-244
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 885-3666
Fax: (415) 885-3676
Appointment information

Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center at Mission Bay
535 Mission Bay Blvd. South
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2873
Fax: (415) 353-2528
Appointment information

Cardiothoracic Surgery
400 Parnassus Ave., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-1606
Fax: (415) 353-1312
Appointment information

Vascular & Endovascular Surgery
400 Parnassus Ave., Suite A-6110
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2357
Fax: (415) 353-2669
Appointment information

Asian Heart & Vascular Center
1600 Divisadero St., Second Floor, Suite C-244
San Francisco, CA 94115
Appointments: (415) 885-3678
Events: (415) 885-3678
Fax: (415) 885-3676
Appointment information

Cardiovascular Genetics Program
400 Parnassus Avenue, Plaza Level, Room 94
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2873
Fax: (415) 476-5355
Appointment information

Heart Transplant Program
400 Parnassus Ave., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-4145
Fax: (415) 353-4166
Appointment information

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