Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to several types of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. The most common type of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attacks (CDC) .
CVD is the leading cause of death in the world, responsible for 30% of all deaths globally (WHO) , and 1 in 3 (over 800,000) deaths in the U.S. (CDC/MMWR [PDF - 248 kB]) .
CVD is the leading cause of death for both men (CDC) and women in the U.S. (CDC)
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two major risk factors for heart disease. About half of U.S. adults with high blood pressure and nearly 2 out of 3 U.S. adults with high cholesterol don't have their condition yet under control (CDC/Vital Signs) .
In the U.S., annual direct and overall costs resulting from CVD are estimated at $273 billion and $444 billion, respectively (CDC/MMWR [PDF - 248 kB]) .
Many CVD risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, poor diet, smoking, and diabetes can be prevented or treated through health behavior change and appropriate medication. Some unpreventable risks for CVD are related to heredity, medical history, age, gender, and race. There are also a number of underlying social, economic, and cultural determinants of CVD such as stress, education level, income, and insurance status.