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Cardiovascular Disease

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Some of the classifications of CVD include:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart that may lead to:
  • Cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain that may lead to:
    • Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or "mini strokes"
    • Strokes
  • Peripheral vascular disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs that can lead to:
    • Claudication – obstructed blood flow in arteries, causing pain
    • Gangrene – death of tissues in legs due to poor circulation
    • Aneurysms

Other types of disease can also affect the heart and/or blood vessels. These are described in more detail in the Heart Disease and Vasculitis articles and include:

  • Congenital heart disease – resulting from malformation of the heart structure during development (includes some valvular diseases)
  • Valvular disease – defects in the structure or function of a heart valve; may be either congenital or acquired
  • Cardiomyopathy – weakening of the heart muscle
  • Myocarditis – inflammation or infection of the heart muscle
  • Vasculitis – inflammation of blood vessels
  • Blood clots that develop in the veins (thrombosis) and that detach and go to other organs (embolism)
  • Atrial fibrillation – quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications

The World Health Organization estimates that cardiovascular diseases represent 30% of all global deaths. Over 80% of deaths from CVD occur in low- and middle-income countries, where there is increased exposure to risk factors and less access to preventive measures and adequate health care. As the leading cause of death worldwide, cardiovascular disease is a focus of international interest.

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