Skip to main content



Heart disease is a term that describes a variety of conditions that deal with the cardiovascular system ranging from coronary artery disease to heart arrhythmias.  It is also sometimes used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease.

The type of heart disease depends on what is going wrong in the body.  Often the disease is multifactorial occurring in multiple locations. For example, a peripheral vascular disease (PVD) caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arterial blood vessels, can be the underlying cause of high blood pressure causing the heart to work harder.  This can produce an oversized inefficient heart muscle.  Atherosclerosis can also cause plaque build-up that can then dislodge and travel to the heart causing a heart attack (1).


  • Age (65 and older)
  • Sex (male)
  • Heredity (includes race)
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Poorly managed stress and anger (1)


Coronary artery disease:

  • Coronary artery disease can range from no symptoms to chest pain to a heart attack (2).

High blood pressure:

  • High blood pressure often has no symptoms. Over time, if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke (3).


  • Symptoms may include a fluttering in the chest, chest pain, fainting, or dizziness (1).

Peripheral artery disease:

  • Most people don’t experience symptoms, but some may experience leg pain, particularly when walking (4).

Congestive heart failure:

  • Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, and rapid heartbeat (5).

Congenital heart disease:

  • Symptoms include abnormal heart rhythms, blue-tinted skin, shortness of breath, failure to feed or develop normally, swollen body tissue or organs, and shortness of breath (6).


  • Symptoms of stroke include trouble walking, speaking, and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg (7).

Cardiac arrest:

  • The main symptoms are a loss of consciousness and unresponsiveness (8).

For more information on heart disease and diagnosis:  1. Talk to your doctor  2. Visit the American Heart Association website 3. Visit the Mayo Clinic website  4. Visit the MedlinePlus website


  • About 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day.  That’s an average of 1 death every 38 seconds!
  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for an estimated 836,546 deaths in the US or about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.
  • Heart disease (including coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke) continues to be the number 1 cause of death in the US.
  • The annual average cost of heart disease from 2013 to 2014 was $204.8 billion (9).


There are a wide range of medical treatments based on what condition one is experiencing.  Common medications include:

  • Cholesterol-modifying medications
  • Aspirin
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (2,3,4,5)
  • In severe cases, surgery may be required (6).

Common side effects of these medications include cough, elevated blood potassium levels, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, weakness, chest pain, fatigue, cold hands or feet, weight gain, and upset stomach (10,11,12).


Practices to Support a Healthy Cardiovascular System:

  • Change in diet  (13,14)
  • Stop tobacco use (15)
  • Start exercising for at least 30 minutes a day (16)
  • Control your stress levels (15)
  • Complete daily dental hygiene (17)

Natural Supplements That Support a Healthy Cardiovascular System:


  1. Heart Disease. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018
  2. Coronary artery disease. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  3. What are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure? American Heart Association. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  4. Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  5. Heart failure. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  6. Congenital heart disease in adults. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  7. Signs and Symptoms of Stroke. National Stroke Association. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  8. Sudden cardiac arrest. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  9. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2018 At-a-Glance.  American Heart Association. Accessed July 9, 2018
  10. ACE Inhibitors Drug Class Side Effects, List of Names, Uses, and Dosage. MedicineNet. Accessed July 9, 2018
  11. Beta blockers. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 9, 2018
  12. Aspirin Tablet. WebMD. Accessed July 9, 2018
  13. Sonia S. Anand S S, et Al. Food Consumption and its impact on Cardiovascular Disease: Importance of Solutions focused on the globalized food system. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Oct 6; 66(14): 1590–1614. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2015.07.050
  14. d’Almeida K S M, Spillere S R, Zuchinali P, Souza G C. Mediterranean Diet and Other Dietary Patterns in Primary Prevention of Heart Failure and Changes in Cardiac Function Markers: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2018 Jan; 10(1): 58. doi:10.3390/nu10010058
  15. Uncovering the link between emotional stress and heart disease. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed July 9, 2018.
  16. Booth F W, Roberts C K, Laye M J. Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases. Compr Physiol. 2012 Apr; 2(2): 1143–1211. doi:10.1002/cphy.c110025
  17. Wang J, Xiong X, Feng B. Effect of Crataegus Usage in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: An Evidence-Based Approach. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 149363. doi:10.1155/2013/149363
  18. Dwivedi S, Chopra D. Revisiting Terminalia arjuna – An Ancient Cardiovascular Drug. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 4(4): 224–231. doi:10.4103/2225-4110.139103
  19. Buijsse B, Jacobs D R Jr., Steffen L M, Kromhout D, Gross M D. Plasma Ascorbic Acid, A Priori Diet Quality Score, and Incident Hypertension: A Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS One. 2015; 10(12): e0144920. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144920.
  20. Lee BJ, Tseng YF, Yen CH, Lin PT. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation (300 mg/day) on antioxidation and anti-inflammation in coronary artery disease patients during statins therapy: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013; 12: 142. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-142
  21. Li Y, Jiang L, Jia Z, Xin W, Yang S, Yang Q, Wang L. A Meta-Analysis of Red Yeast Rice: An Effective and Relatively Safe Alternative Approach for Dyslipidemia. PLoS One. 2014; 9(6): e98611. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098611.
  22. Ranasinghe P, Pigera S, Premakumara GA S, Galappaththy P, Constantine G R, Katulanda P. Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:275. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-275.
  23. Park S, Karunakaran U, Jeoung NH, Jeon JH, Lee IK. Physiological effect and therapeutic application of alpha lipoic acid. Curr Med Chem. 2014;21(32):3636-45.
  24. Saxena RC, Singh R, Kumar P, et al. Efficacy of an extract of Ocimum tenuiflorum (OciBest) in the management of general stress: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012;2012:894509. doi:10.1155/2012/894509
  25. Salinas T J. Will taking care of my teeth help prevent heart disease? Accessed July 9, 2018.
  26. Ulbricht C, Basch E, Szapary P, et al. Guggul for hyperlipidemia: a review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Complement Ther Med. 2005;13(4):279-290. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2005.08.003.
  27. Roza JM, Xian-Liu Z, Guthrie N. Effect of citrus flavonoids and tocotrienols on serum cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Nov-Dec;13(6):44-8.
  28. Ras RT, Geleijnse JM, Trautwein EA. LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect of plant sterols and stanols across different dose ranges: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(2):214-219. doi:10.1017/S0007114514000750
  29. Balk, E. M., Tatsioni, A., Lichtenstein, A. H., Lau, J., and Pittas, A. G. Effect of chromium supplementation on glucose metabolism and lipids: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(8):2154-2163. DOI:10.2337/dc06-0996.
  30. Davies S, Howard JM, Hunnisett A, et al. Age-related decreases in chromium levels in 51,665 hair, sweat, and serum samples from 40,872 patients – implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Metabolism. 1997;46:469-73