Cardiovascular disease

Doctor taking a womans blood pressureCardiovascular disease (CVD) includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease (angina and heart attack), heart failure, congenital heart disease and stroke. It is also known as heart and circulatory disease

In 2011, almost 160,000 people in the UK died from CVD. 74,000 of these deaths were caused by coronary heart disease - the UK's single biggest killer. 

Other types of cardiovascular disease include heart valve disease 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.

  • Atherosclerosis
    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 heart attack.
  • 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 may also influence your risk of developing CVD.

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 your heart.

Find out more

Discuss CVD online

 

Researching cardiovascular disease

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