What is Cardiovascular Disease?

It is a disease that affects the vascular system, this includes the heart, valves, electrical system, or the arteries and veins.  There are various things that increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, these include:

  • AgeHeart Care Cardiovascular Disease
  • Gender
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure 
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol
  • Psychosocial factors

These risk factors all have an effect on arteries.  Heart disease begins with the arteries slowly build up with a fatty plaque called atherosclerosis.  This plaque begins when there is damage to the walls of the artery.  This plaque is the product of the immune system engulfing the oxidised LDL particles around the damage, becoming foam cells, the smooth muscle cells form a fibrous cap to contain the atherosclerotic plaque.  

If this fibrous cap breaks, the cells inside are released into the blood stream, if these were to meet another narrowed artery in the heart, they can cause a blockage.  This can lead to restricted blood flow, resulting in a blockage.  The muscle of the heart requires oxygen to function; if the blockage reduces the blood flow oxygen cannot be delivered, causing the muscle to die.

How can we reduce the risks of this happening:

I hope this answers some questions about heart disease.  If you have any more questions call 01922 725050.

Ryan Hodgkinson