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What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s number one killer, causing over 20.5 million deaths per year. 

CVD is a class of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels (veins and arteries). More people die from CVD worldwide than from any other cause: over 20.5 million every year. Of these deaths, 85% are due to coronary heart diseases (e.g heart attacks) and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g. strokes) and mostly affect low- and middle-income countries.

Did you know that your heart is the size of your fist and the strongest muscle in your body? It started beating about three weeks after you were conceived. If you live to be 70, it will have beaten two and a half billion times. However, although impressive and strong, your heart can also become vulnerable from habitual risk factors like smoking, diabetes, cholesterol, eating an unhealthy diet, or living with high blood pressure.

The system can also be weakened from a pre-existing heart condition and other physiological factors, including hypertension or high blood cholesterol. When your heart’s functions become compromised, this is known as cardiovascular disease, a broad term that covers any disorder to the system that has the heart at its centre.

Learn more about CVD, symptoms and treatment.

Risk Factors


Raised cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths and is implicated in heart diseases and stroke

Private: CVD & COVID-19


Diabetes is a major global health threat. It affects 1 in 11 adults… 425 million people in the world.

Physical Inactivity

Around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week reduces the risk of heart disease by 30% and the risk of diabetes by 27%.


Globally, more than 1 in 10 cardiovascular deaths are caused by smoking. Around 1.2 million deaths are due to exposure to second-hand smoke.



Atrial Fibrillation

Heart Failure

Cardiac Amyloidosis