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RMC Bayonet Point

Cardiovascular Health 201: Cardiovascular Disease

CVD survival timing

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term that encompasses a number of different conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Though coronary heart disease , angina , stroke , and congestive heart failure are among the most well known cardiovascular conditions, there are many others. They affect the heart valves, arteries and veins in the legs, and the rate and rhythm of heartbeats. In total, cardiovascular disease is a primary or contributing cause in about 60% of all deaths in the United States.

Fortunately, most types of cardiovascular disease come with an early warning system. In other words, there are risk factors for many of these conditions that can be identified and controlled, giving you a chance to prevent cardiovascular disease. The cornerstones of most CVD prevention are the very principles of healthy living: no smoking, healthful diet, healthy weight, and regular exercise. Medications to control high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol may be used as well.

Even a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease is not necessarily a closed door. There are many opportunities to reverse, slow, or stop the progression of cardiovascular disease through lifestyle changes, medication, and, if necessary, surgical interventions.

Revision Information

  • American Heart Association

  • Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center

  • Health Canada

  • Heart and Stroke Foundation

  • American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2003 Update . Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2002.

  • American Heart Association. Risk factors and coronary heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: . Accessed January 8, 2003.

  • Braunstein JB. Do you know your risk of cardiovascular disease? website. Available at: . Accessed January 8, 2003.

  • National vital statistics report. Centers for Disease Control . 2002;50:15-17.