Heart, stroke and vascular disease – also known as cardiovascular disease or CVD – is a broad term that describe the many different diseases and conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. The most common and serious types of CVD include coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. CVD remains a major health problem in Australia, despite declining mortality and hospitalisation rates.
Heart, stroke and vascular disease – also known as cardiovascular disease or CVD – is a broad term that describe the many different diseases and conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.
Common types of CVD in Australia include coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. These, and other cardiovascular conditions are described separately in this report.
Many forms of CVD are caused by atherosclerosis. This is a condition where deposits of fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the inner lining of the arteries to form plaque. Atherosclerosis can reduce or block blood supply to the heart (causing angina or heart attack) or to the brain (causing stroke). The process leading to atherosclerosis is slow and complex, often starting early in life and progressing with age.
Coronary heart disease also known as ischaemic heart disease, is the most common cardiovascular disease. There are 2 main clinical forms – heart attack and angina. Heart attack – or acute myocardial infarction (AMI) – is a life-threatening event that occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart is suddenly blocked, threatening to damage the heart muscle and its functions. Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.
Stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked (ischaemic stroke) or ruptures and begins to bleed (haemorrhagic stroke).
Other common types of CVD:
See the Heart, stroke and vascular disease–Australian facts online report for the latest statistics
03 Nov 2022
61% of people with acute coronary syndrome initiated ≥3 of the 4 classes of CVD medicines within 40 days of discharge
3 in 4 patients were still taking their medicines 1 year after leaving hospital
Contact with community-based health care services was associated with use of recommended CVD medicines
Acute coronary syndrome events were underestimated by 15% when using unlinked data compared to linked data
In 2018, there were around 40,200 new acute coronary syndrome events – around 110 events every day
Stroke events estimated using the unlinked data were similar to estimates from linked data
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