Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart, the blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins) or both.
Cardiovascular disease refers to any disease that affects the cardiovascular system, principally cardiac disease, vascular diseases of the brain and kidney, and peripheral arterial disease. The causes of cardiovascular disease are diverse butatherosclerosis and hypertension are the most common. In addition, with aging come a number of physiological and morphological changes that alter cardiovascular function and lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even in healthy asymptomatic individuals.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths on the globally. According to a World Bank analysis, cardiovascular mortality has been declining in many high-income countries since 1970s. At the same time, cardiovascular deaths and disease have increased at a fast rate in low- and middle-income countries. Although cardiovascular disease usually affects older adults, the antecedents of cardiovascular disease, notably atherosclerosis, begin in early life, making primary prevention efforts necessary from childhood. Consequently, there is increased emphasis on preventing atherosclerosis by modifying risk factors, for example by healthy eating, exercise, and avoidance of smoking tobacco and excessive alcohol intake.