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February is Heart Health Awareness Month

Know the Difference: Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Disease, Coronary Heart Disease

1. Cardiovascular Disease

"Cardiovascular disease" is the term for all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, including:

2. Heart Disease

"Heart disease" is a catch-all phrase for a variety of conditions that affect the heart's structure and function. Keep in mind all heart diseases are cardiovascular diseases, but not all cardiovascular diseases are heart diseases. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease.

3. Coronary Heart disease

"Coronary heart disease" is often referred to simply as "heart disease," although it's not the only type of heart disease. Another term for it is coronary artery disease. Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque (a combination of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood) builds up in your arteries. The plaque reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood getting to your heart, which can cause chest pain (also called angina). Plaque can also lead to blood clots, which block blood flow and are the most common cause of a heart attack.

What can you do to protect yourself from cardiovascular disease?

There's a lot you can do to protect your heart:

  • Ask your doctor about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C
  • Reduce the sodium, and increase the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don't smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Keep your diabetes under control

For further information about heart disease, access the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at