Disorders of the heart itself or of the blood vessels of the heart, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.

An estimated 61.8 Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. An estimated 24.8 million of this amount are age 65 and older. Based on the AMERICAN heart ASSOCIATION, cardiovascular diseases collectively represent the number one killer of Americans and were responsible for 958,775 departures in 1999, compared to 549,838 departures from cancer. Coronary heart disease is the largest killer in America among the disorders that represent CVD, claiming 55 percent of the lives of those who die from cardiovascular disease. The next-biggest killer is stroke, at 17 percent of all deaths from CVD.

Cardiovascular disease is a significant issue world-wide: according to the American Heart Association, CVD caused or led to one third of all deaths, internationally. In Latin America, by way of example, about 800,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease, or 25 percent of all departures. The amounts of women and men who perish are around equivalent, based on the American Heart Association.

The World Health Organization has reported that 7.1 million people in the world died from coronary heart disease in 1999. About 5 million people in the world died from strokes, and 15 million additional individuals globally survived strokes. Many Europeans smoke, are overweight, and have diabetes, and these factors combine to raise the risk for cardiovascular disease.

CVD is also an issue in Canada, and according to the Changing Face of Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada released by Health Canada, it’s the top cause of death for more than a third of Canadians.

The British Heart Foundation also reports that cardiovascular diseases are a significant issue in Europe in their 2002 statistical compendium.

(Accessible at www.dphpc.ox.ac.uk/bhfhprg/stats/2000/index.html) According to this source, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for Europeans, causing 4 million deaths each year and nearly half of all departures. The highest death rates from coronary heart disease are found in northern, central, and Eastern Europe.

The maximum speeds for a “coronary event” (specific or likely heart attack)—835 per 100,000—were found in men in Finland-North Karelia. The lowest rates for guys, 81 per 100,000, were found in China. The maximum event rate for girls—265 per 100,000—was in the United Kingdom, and the lowest, 35 per 100,000 for each state, was in Spain and China.

Risks for Developing CVD

A number of people are at special risk for developing CVD, either due to their race or ethnicity, other sicknesses they have, or other variables. The crucial risk factors for developing CVD are:

  • Diabetes
  • AFRICAN AMERICAN race (about 41 percent of African American men and 40 percent of African American girls have CVD in America, and they face about a 40 percent higher risk of death than faced by Caucasians)
  • Mexican American ethnicity (about 29 percent of Mexican American men and 27 percent of Mexican American girls in America have CVD)
  • Elderly individuals (the risk increases with age, with the largest risk among people older than age 65)
  • Native American race (many Native Americans are at high risk of death from CVD, especially some tribes including the Pima Indians in Arizona) Individuals who smoke
  • Individuals that have an issue with OBESITY

Age Data

Based on the American Heart Association in their 2002 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update, for guys, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease increases from 51 percent of men in the United States ages

55-64 years to an upward leap of 65.2 for guys who are between the ages of 65-74. The percentage rises farther still for those age 75 and older to 70.7 percent.

For girls, the prevalence of CVD among girls ages 55-64 is 48.1 percent. This percentage rises drastically among girls ages 65-74 years, to be the same as found among men, or 65.2 percent. Girls who are age 75 and older have a higher rate of cardiovascular disease than experienced by guys in exactly the same age group, a rate of 79 percent.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of CVD

Doctors diagnose cardiovascular disease based on blood pressure readings, electrocardiograms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, stress tests, and various other means.

The treatment depends upon the nature and the severity of the issue, crisis-care treatment is needed in the instance of a heart attack or stroke, typically followed by maintenance doses of drugs, in addition to recommended lifestyle changes, including weight reduction, better control of diabetes among diabetic people, and routine exercise. Smokers must quit smoking instantly. People that have high cholesterol levels should alter their diets and frequently have to take cholesterol-lowering drugs too.

In the instance of hypertension, the target would be to lower the blood pressure. Medicine is frequently used. Patients are also advised to observe cholesterol levels and to slim down if they are having issues with obesity.

Studies have demonstrated that aspirin treatment is capable of controlling the risk for both stroke and heart attack. Prescribed medicines like Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachal (pravastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin) are frequently purchased because these drugs can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart attack. Some studies have demonstrated that these drugs have reduced the risk of CVD by about a third. In patients with diabetes, the risk is decreased even more drastically with these drugs by 55 percent.

Other medicines like drugs in the beta blocker group or in the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor type may be suggested for patients with cardiovascular disease. In one study, the Hope Study, it was found that Ramipril, an ACE inhibitor, reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death so significantly for patients with diabetes that research workers stopped the study early for diabetic patients so the areas taking a placebo (sugar pill) could take the genuine drug instead and get its advantages.

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