Cardiovascular Diseases-Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. Cardio refers to the heart and vascular refers to all the blood vessels in the body. Cardiovascular disease refers to disease of the heart or blood vessels. This article will help you in knowing the types, causes, symptoms, treatment and risk factors of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD).

The cardiovascular, or circulatory, system supplies the body with blood. It consists of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries. It includes coronary artery diseases such as angina and myocardial infarction commonly known as a heart attack.

Diagnosis of disease typically occurs seven to ten years earlier in men as compared to women.


Cardiovascular diseases comprises many different types of condition. Some of these might develop at the same time or lead to other conditions or diseases within the group. Diseases and conditions that affect the heart include:

Coronary artery disease:

Damage in the heart’s major blood vessels. Coronary heart disease is a type of heart disease that develops when the arteries of the heart cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The usual cause is the build-up of plaque. This causes coronary arteries to narrow, limiting blood flow to the heart. It is also called as CAD, atherosclerotic heart disease.


Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced. It preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. Stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial.

Peripheral artery disease:

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs, legs, stomach, arms and head. It most commonly affects arteries in the legs. Both PAD and coronary artery disease (CAD) are caused by atherosclerosis.

Cardiac arrest:

In cardiac arrest, the heart abruptly stops beating, without prompt intervention, it can result in the person’s death. It includes sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Cardiac arrest is often deadly, if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately.


Cardiac arrhythmia occurs when electrical impulses in the heart don’t work properly. It is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm.

When a heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. When a heart beats too slowly, the condition is called bradycardia

Heart failure:

Heart failure, is sometimes known as congestive heart failure. It occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure. Heart failure can occur if the heart cannot pump (systolic) or fill (diastolic) adequately.

Heart attack:

heart attack occurs when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. Fatty deposits build up over time, forming plaques in your heart’s arteries. If a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form and block your arteries, causing a heart attack. It is also known as myocardial infarction.

Congenital heart disease:

Congenital heart disease is also called as congenital heart defect, is a heart abnormality present at birth. The problem can affect: the heart walls, the heart valves and the blood vessels. It can change the way blood flows through your heart.


Cardiomyopathy is an acquired or hereditary disease of heart muscle, this condition makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood to the body, and can lead to heart failure. The main types of cardiomyopathy include dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy.


Symptoms will vary depending on the specific condition. Some conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, may initially cause no symptoms at all. However, symptoms of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest, which may indicate angina
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

Although these are the most common symptoms, CVD can cause symptoms anywhere in the body.

Causes And Risk Factors

Damage to the circulatory system can also result from diabetes and other health conditions, such as a virus, an inflammatory process such as myocarditis, or a structural problem present from birth (congenital heart disease).

CVD often results from high blood pressure, which produces no symptoms. It is therefore vital that people undergo regular screening for high blood pressure. Many types of CVD occur as a complication of atherosclerosis.

The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD. The common causes and risk factors are listed below:

High blood pressure is estimated to account for approximately 13% of CVD deaths, while smoking accounts for 9%, diabetes 6%, lack of exercise 6% and obesity 5%. Rheumatic heart disease may follow untreated strep throat.


The treatment option for a person will depend on their specific type of CVD. Some options include:

  • Cardiac rehabilitation, including exercise prescriptions and lifestyle counseling
  • Medication, such as to reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol, improve blood flow, or regulate heart rhythm
  • Surgery, such as coronary artery bypass grafting or valve repair or replacement surgery.

Treatment aims to:

  • Relieve symptoms.
  • Reduce the risk of the condition from getting worse.
  • Disease recurring.
  • Prevent complications, such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, or death.

Treating risk factors, such as high blood pressure, blood lipids and diabetes is also beneficial. Treating people who have strep throat with antibiotics can decrease the risk of rheumatic heart disease. The use of aspirin in people, who are otherwise healthy, is of unclear benefit.


It is estimated that up to 90% of CVD may be preventable. Prevention of CVD involves improving risk factors through: 

  • Healthy eating (fresh fruits & vegetables)
  • Exercise
  • Avoidance of smoking and
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Reducing salt, sugar, and saturated fat intake
  • Avoiding sedentary lifestyle

Acquiring these lifestyle habits, such as eating a high sugar diet and not getting much physical activity, may not lead to CVD while a person is still young, as the effects of the condition are increasing.


Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Together CVD resulted in 17.9 million deaths (32.1%) in 2015, up from 12.3 million (25.8%) in 1990. Deaths, at a given age, from CVD are more common and have been increasing in much of the developing world, while rates have declined in most of the developed world since the 1970s. Coronary artery disease and stroke account for 80% of CVD deaths in males and 75% of CVD deaths in females. Most cardiovascular disease affects older adults.

In the United States 11% of people between 20 and 40 have CVD, while 37% between 40 and 60, 71% of people between 60 and 80, and 85% of people over 80 have CVD. The average age of death from coronary artery disease in the developed world is around 80 while it is around 68 in the developing world.


  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide.
  • CVD is most common in people over 50 and your risk of developing it increases as you get older
  • Men are more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women.
  • Diagnosis of disease typically occurs seven to ten years earlier in men as compared to women.
  • It is possible to manage some health conditions within CVD by making lifestyle changes, but some conditions may be life threatening and require emergency surgery.
  • Depending on the condition, a healthcare provider may also seek to stabilize heart rhythms, reduce blockages, and relax the arteries to enable a better flow of blood.