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GSE Cardiovascular DIsease / CVD / Heart disease

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, Canada and England, killing one person every 34 seconds in the U.S. alone

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is typically referring to an ischaemic heart disease

(i.e. related to a reduced blood supply)

Ischaemic heart disease occurs primarily as a consequence of occlusion of the arteries (due to a build-up of plaque on the artery walls, called atherosclerosis) that supply blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle, brain and other vital organs - if oxygen doesn't arrive then the tissue or organ will die. Even more deadly, however, a piece of plaque can break off and cause a heart attack by blocking a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart, or a stroke by blocking the carotid artery supplying the brain.

CVD usually refers to these more common dysfunctional conditions:

✔ Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)


✔ Stroke

✔ Angina

✔ Hypertension

✔ Thrombosis (clot formation causing blockage)

✔ Hemorrhagic burst (blood vessel rupture).


(Technically, CVD refers to diseases that affect the heart itself and/or the blood vessel system).

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

In America, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) kills one person every minute - the most common cardiovascular disease in the Western world and responsible for about half of heart disease related deaths

American Heart Association, 2008

CHD claims more than 700,000 American lives each year - accounting for 29% of all deaths in the U.S. and costing the nation $193.8 billion per year.

Lloyd-Jones D, et al, Heart disease and stroke statistics--2009 update: a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee, Circulation2009;119(3):e21-181].

Since 1984, more women than men die each year of heart disease in the U.S..

CHD is related to a reduced blood supply to the heart(ischaemia) -that occurs primarily as a consequence of atherosclerotic blockage in the walls of the aorta and 2 main coronary arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. American Heart Association, 2008. CHD is also called Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

Various other disease terms associated with the heart

Congestive heart failure - condition resulting from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to fill with or pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body;

Hypertensive heart disease - caused by high blood pressure, especially localized high blood pressure. Conditions that can be caused by hypertensive heart disease include: Left ventricular hypertrophy, Coronary heart disease, (Congestive) heart failure, Hypertensive cardiomyopathy, Cardiac arrhythmias;

Inflammatory heart disease - involves inflammation of the heart muscle and/or the tissue surrounding it;

Valvular heart disease - any disease process involving one or more valves of the heart;

Ischaemic heart disease -characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart;

Cardiomyopathy – disease of the heart muscle

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