Information for the public
Heart disease and stroke are the most common forms of cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease is a condition in which the blood vessels in the heart become narrowed or blocked by the build-up of fat. This can result in angina (chest pains) and heart attack. A stroke is when the normal blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can damage the area of the brain affected.
Other forms of cardiovascular disease include a 'mini-stroke' (transient ischaemic attack or TIA) and peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of the arteries, usually in the legs).
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the UK, and is a major cause of illness, disability and poor quality of life. Smoking, high blood pressure and having high levels of fats, such as cholesterol, in your blood increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. Changing your diet, stopping smoking, reducing your alcohol intake and taking more exercise can lower your cholesterol and help reduce your risk. Medication may be helpful. People with diabetes or chronic kidney disease are also at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.