Health topics

Cardiovascular diseases


Cardiovascular disease is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and includes coronary heart disease (heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), raised blood pressure (hypertension), peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and heart failure. The major causes of cardiovascular disease are tobacco use, physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet and harmful use of alcohol.

Of the 7.9 million deaths attributed to NCDs in SEAR in 2008, 3.6 million (45%) were due to CVDs (1). The proportion of deaths due to CVDs was the lowest in Maldives (34%) and highest in Bhutan (53%). In India, CVDs are the leading cause of death in both males and females and in urban as well as rural areas.

Types of CVDs vary among SEAR countries . The commonest CVDs in the Region are ischaemic heart disease, stroke and hypertensive heart disease. Ischaemic heart disease is the commonest cause of CVD deaths in all countries except Thailand where deaths due to cerebrovascular disease (stroke)exceeds deaths due to ischaemic heart disease. CVDs affect younger age-goups in SEAR than in their counterparts in western countries. For example, CVDmortality in India in the 30–59 years age-group is twice than that in the US. Nearly 52% of CVD deaths in India occur below the age of 70 years compared with 23% in established market economies.