Cardiovascular disease is a collective term for diseases affecting the heart, blood vessels, and flow of blood around the body. In research and policy literature, cardiovascular disease is often abbreviated to the acronym CVD. Probably the most well known form of CVD is “heart attack” in which supply of blood to the heart is blocked. However, CVD includes many other forms.
For example, the accumulation of fatty build-ups or plaques on the walls of blood vessels is a common occurrence that would be defined as CVD. When small, these plaques may not cause significant issues to the cardiovascular system, but larger plaques may obstruct blood flow – which can both stop blood flow or cause the blood vessel to rupture from additional pressure. Alternatively, these plaques may break off and cause damage when they arrive at another destination.
One specific variety of CVD that can be forgotten when discussing these conditions is cerebrovascular disease. Cerebrovascular disease refers to CVD specifically within the vessels supplying the brain. Again, these can include full blocks to blood supply or ruptures of blood vessels (both commonly known as stroke) but also include impaired blood flow, which affects the overall brain health.
If you are interested in finding out more, both the Australian Department of Health and the World Health Organization have informative pages introducing cardiovascular disease. The Heart Foundation of Australia have a simpler page on cardiovascular disease, although their overall website contains comprehensive discussion of heart function and health, and ways to improve cardiovascular health: