Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the collective term for all diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. This subsumes a large range of diseases including: coronary heart diseases, myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and cerebrovascular diseases (including strokes), and many others. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the collective term for diseases that occur when the walls of the coronary arteries become narrowed by a gradual build‑up of fatty material called atheroma.
Within the CVD categories, the biggest killers are, in this order,
- Coronary heart disease (69,163);
- Stroke (39,282);
- “Other” heart diseases (25,827);
- Diseases of arteries (8,520);
The numbers are the total number of deaths in 2014 in the UK due to these causes, taken from the British Heart Foundation report “cardiovascular disease statistics 2015”, Table 1.1. All CVD accounts for 154,630 deaths in the UK.
Premature deaths in all four of these leading causes of CVD mortality are dominated by men (where ‘premature’ is taken as deaths before age 75). In fact, male deaths due to CVD exceed female deaths even up to age 84 – see Figure 1. The difference between the male and female CVD death rate is greatest for the most common category, coronary heart disease, and peaks in middle age when men are four times more likely to die of coronary heart disease than women.
Whilst Figure 1 is based on UK data as a whole, it is clear that this is approximately indicative for Wales also. Data for premature deaths (before age 75) from CVD in Wales are available from the British Heart Foundation report “cardiovascular disease statistics 2015”, Table 1.2 and indicate that the male:female ratio is similar to that in the UK as a whole, as shown by Table 1 below.
Table 1: Ratio of male:female deaths due to CVD in Wales cf the whole UK, at all ages below 75 years
|Coronary heart disease||3.06||2.81|
|“Other” heart diseases||1.64||1.44|
|Diseases of arteries||2.09||2.07|
Figure 1 click to enlarge
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