Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.
There are many different types of CVD. 4 of the main types are described on this page.
- Coronary heart disease, Coronary heart disease occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced.
- Strokes and TIAs, A stroke is where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can cause brain damage and possibly death.
- Peripheral arterial disease, Peripheral arterial disease occurs when there’s a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually the legs.
- Aortic disease, Aortic diseases are a group of conditions affecting the aorta. This is the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
The exact cause of CVD isn’t clear, but there are lots of things that can increase your risk of getting it. These are called “risk factors”.
This include; High blood pressure, Smoking, High cholesterol, Diabetes, Inactivity, Being overweight or obese, Family history of CVD, Ethnic background, Other risk factors.
The most important behavioural risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. The effects of behavioural risk factors may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity. These “intermediate risks factors” can be measured in primary care facilities and indicate an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other complications.
This term can be scary. It doesn’t mean your heart has “failed,” or stopped working. It means your heart doesn’t pump as strongly as it should. This will cause your body to hold in salt and water, which will give you swelling and shortness of breath.
Your valves sit at the exit of each of your four heart chambers. They keep blood flowing through your heart.
Sometimes, there are problems with these valves. Examples of heart valve problems include:
Aortic stenosis. Your aortic valve narrows. It slows blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body.
Mitral valve insufficiency. Your mitral valve doesn’t close tightly enough. This causes blood to leak backward, leading to fluid backup in the lungs.
Mitral valve prolapse. The valve between your left upper and left lower chambers doesn’t close right.
A healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of CVD. If you already have CVD, staying as healthy as possible can reduce the chances of it getting worse. The key to cardiovascular disease reduction lies in the inclusion of cardiovascular disease management interventions in universal health coverage packages, although in a high number of countries health systems require significant investment and reorientation to effectively manage CVDs
Basic medicines that should be available include: Aspirin,beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; and statins.
Medical devices are required to treat some CVDs. Such devices include pacemakers, prosthetic valves, and patches for closing holes in the heart.