Heart & Stroke Conditions Explained


Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is among the leading causes of death and disability in Ireland.

CVD includes all diseases of the heart and circulation but most commonly it refers to coronary heart disease (angina, heart attack), stroke and other blood vessel diseases.

Other conditions include congenital heart disease, heart valve disease and disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).


Related topics: atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, stroke.


Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease usually refers to heart disease and stroke that is caused by a narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel.

Often, there are no symptoms of the underlying disease. A heart attack or stroke may be the first signs of CVD.


Cardiovascular Disease

The underlying cause of coronary heart disease and stroke is atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty deposits that form plaques on the inner lining of the blood vessels).

Risk factors include:


Cardiovascular Disease

Keeping a heart healthy lifestyle is the most important thing you can do to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Many risk factors influence and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. A lot of these risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, living with overweight, inactivity and smoking are modifiable.



Cardiovascular Disease

The tests to diagnose cardiovascular disease will depend on your risk factors and symptoms.

Your doctor will do a physical examination and ask you about your own and your family medical history before doing any tests.

These tests may include: blood tests, ECG, echocardiogram, a Holter monitor, angiogram/cardiac catheterisation, a CT scan, and MRI.


Cardiovascular Disease

Treatment options depend on how your condition is presenting itself.

Making certain lifestyle changes is vital to improving and potentially preventing cardiovascular disease.

Depending on your individual condition, certain medications may be prescribed. If these medications aren’t enough, specific procedures or surgery may be recommended.

Support for You

Cardiovascular Disease

The Irish Heart Foundation offers a range of free support services to those affected by heart disease or stroke that can greatly improve their quality of life. These include support groups, physical exercise classes, therapy sessions and more.

For more information on these supports, see our Patient Supports page.

If you have any questions about heart disease or stroke, you can also call the Irish Heart Foundation’s Nurse Support on (01) 668 5001 to speak to a nurse specialist who will answer your questions, and give you guidance and reassurance.


Cardiovascular Disease

Read our resources for further information:



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