• When all is well, the heart, the body's hardest working muscle, beats about 80 times a minute, pumping 3 billion times in an average lifetime.
  • Arteries transport blood from the heart into the body; veins carry the blood back to the heart.
  • The heart has four chambers; each of the heart's four valves open to allow forward flow of the blood and close to prevent backward flow.
  • The heart and its major vessels are among the most common sites for birth defects.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Consider seeing your doctor if you experience difficulty breathing, light-headedness, irregular heartbeat or an inability to perform normal activities.

When the Heart Goes Wrong

  • Coronary heart disease caused one in six deaths in the United States in 2008.
  • The American Heart Association projects that by 2030, 40.5% of the U.S. population will have form of cardiovascular disease.
  • Age increases risk: 35.5 percent of men and 20.8 percent of women age 80 and above suffered from coronary heart disease, according to 2005-2008 data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.