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Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death globally. The extensive occurrence of CVD is directly related to lifestyle, like level of physical activity, smoking and eating habits. Raised blood pressure and blood cholesterol, overweight and obesity, diabetes mellitus, excessive alcohol consumption and psychosocial stress are considered main risk factors.

CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
  • Cerebrovascular disease - disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
  • Peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
  • Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria
  • Congenital heart disease - malformations of heart structure existing at birth
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

High-risk individuals are

1. Patients with established CVD.
2. Asymptomatic individuals who are at increased risk of CVD because of
    a. Multiple risk factors resulting in raised total CVD risk.
    b. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics with microalbuminuria.
    c. Markedly increased single risk factors especially if associated with end organ damage.
3. Close relatives of subjects with premature CVD or of those at particularly high risk.