Heart disease or cardiovascular disease are the terms used to commonly describe diseases that involves the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins).
These diseases commonly fall into the categories of coronary heart disease (angina and heart attack) and stroke.
Most developed countries face high and ever increasing rates of cardiovascular illness. Each year heart disease kills more Americans than even cancer.
In recent years cardiovascular disease has been increasing in women and has killed more women than breast cancer. This is an important point as there is a common misconception that heart disease only affects men, whereas in actuality it affects nearly as many women as men.
In the case of vascular disease large histological studies have determined that vascular injury accumulates from adolescence making preventative efforts from childhood necessary. By the time that heart disease is detected, the underlying cause (atherosclerosis) is often quite advanced having progressed for decades.
Therefore a huge emphasis is put on preventing atherosclerosis by modifying risk factors, which can be achieved through healthy eating, exercise and the avoidance of smoking i.e. living a healthy lifestyle.
This however does not account for all disease. As certain heart diseases are genetic and members of the population may be at a far higher risk of suffering from these cardiovascular diseases. Emphasising the need for early detection and treatment of certain cardiovascular disorders.