Cardiovascular disease (CVD) means all the diseases of the
heart and circulation including coronary heart disease (angina and
heart attack), and stroke.
Cardiovascular disease - also known as heart and circulatory
disease - is the biggest killer in the UK. In 2009, around
one third of all deaths in the UK were due to CVD.
Of these, over 82,000 deaths were caused by
coronary heart disease, and about
49,000 were caused by stroke.
Other types of cardiovascular disease include heart valve disease, heart failure and cardiomyopathy.
How are cardiovascular diseases linked?
Coronary heart disease (angina and
heart attack) and stroke may be caused by the same problem –
atherosclerosis. This is when your arteries
become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material (called
atheroma) within their walls.
In time, your
arteries may become so narrow that they cannot deliver enough
oxygen-rich blood to your heart. This can cause angina– a pain or discomfort in your chest.
- If a piece of the atheroma in your arteries
breaks away it may cause a blood clot to
form. If the blood clot blocks your coronary artery and cuts
off the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, your
heart muscle may become permanently damaged.This is known as a
- When a blood clot blocks an artery that carries blood to your
brain, it can cut off the blood supply to part of your brain. This
is called a stroke.
What increases my risk of cardiovascular disease?
A risk factor is something that that
increases your likelihood of getting a disease. There are
several risk factors for CVD, including
How you deal with stress, the amount
of alcohol you drink, as well as the
type of job you do and your income may also increase your risk of
The more risk factors you have, the
higher your risk of developing CVD. And even though you can’t
change all your risk factors, there is plenty you can do to
reduce your risk and help to protect
Find out more