Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of premature death and disability in humans and their incidence is on the rise globally. Given their substantial contribution towards the escalating costs of health care, CVDs also generate a high socio-economic burden in the general population. The underlying pathogenesis and progression associated with nearly all CVDs are predominantly of atherosclerotic origin that leads to the development of coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, venous thromboembolism and, peripheral vascular disease, subsequently causing myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias or stroke. The aetiological risk factors leading to the onset of CVDs are well recognized and include hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking and, lack of physical activity. They collectively represent more than 90% of the CVD risks in all epidemiological studies. Despite high fatality rate of CVDs, the identification and careful prevention of the underlying risk factors can significantly reduce the global epidemic of CVDs. Beside making favorable lifestyle modifications, primary regimes for the prevention and treatment of CVDs include lipid-lowering drugs, antihypertensives, antiplatelet and anticoagulation therapies. Despite their effectiveness, significant gaps in the treatment of CVDs remain. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology and pathology of the major CVDs that are prevalent globally. We also determine the contribution of well-recognized risk factors towards the development of CVDs and the prevention strategies. In the end, therapies for the control and treatment of CVDs are discussed.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; epidemiological studies; hypertension; platelets; stroke; thrombosis..
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