Heart & Stroke Conditions Explained

Definition

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the most common cause 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.

Symptoms

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.

Causes

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:

Prevention

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, overweight/obesity, inactivity and smoking are modifiable.

 

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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.

Resources

Cardiovascular Disease

Read our resources for further information:

Symptoms