The Basics

Every year in the United States, over 650,000 people die from heart disease, which refers to several types of heart conditions including

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the United States, killing over 365,000 people each year. Several health conditions and behaviors can make you more likely to develop this type of heart disease, such as

Having close blood relatives (like a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or cousin) with heart disease or related conditions, like high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, can make you more likely to have these conditions. In some cases, heart disease is hereditary, meaning that it is caused by genetic changes (called mutations) that are passed down in families. Familial hypercholesterolemia is one example of a condition that causes hereditary heart disease.

Collect your family health history to help you learn more about your risk of heart disease. Share this information with your doctor so that you can come up with a plan together to prevent or manage heart disease. Effective medical options are available for people who have a hereditary condition like familial hypercholesterolemia.

Page last reviewed: February 3, 2021