Cardiovascular disease

New initiative launched to tackle cardiovascular disease, the world’s number one killer

22 September, 2016: “Global Hearts”, a new initiative from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly, aims to beat back the global threat of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes - the world’s leading cause of death.

Cardiovascular diseases

WHO/Christopher Black

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. Four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. Individuals at risk of CVD may demonstrate raised blood pressure, glucose, and lipids as well as overweight and obesity. These can all be easily measured in primary care facilities. Identifying those at highest risk of CVDs and ensuring they receive appropriate treatment can prevent premature deaths. Access to essential NCD medicines and basic health technologies in all primary health care facilities is essential to ensure that those in need receive treatment and counselling.

World Heart Day 2015 is marked around the globe

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On the occasion of World Heart Day, 29 September 2015, WHO is putting the spotlight on the under-recognized and under-treated epidemic of heart disease in women. More women die from heart disease every year than men, however, many remain unaware of their risk and the steps needed to reduce this risk.

Controlling high blood pressure

27 March 2013 -- The theme for this year's World Health Day, 7 April, is hypertension. Also known as high or raised blood pressure, hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Uncontrolled hypertension can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure.
However, high blood pressure is preventable and treatable. Early detection is key: all adults should know their blood pressure.


fact buffet

17.5 millionpeople die each year from CVDs, an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide.

Fact sheet on CVDs

>75%of CVD deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.

Health topic on CVDs

80%of all CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes.

10 facts on noncommunicable diseases

Key messages to protect heart health

  • Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day of the week will help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
  • Eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and limiting your salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day, also helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes.