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In modern times, cardiac disease has emerged as the leading cause of death worldwide, particularly in developed countries. The World Health Organization reported that 16.7 million deaths in 2003 (29.2% of total global deaths) were caused by some form of cardiovascular disease. Though the rate of cardiac disease is highest in developed countries, developing countries are seeing an increase in the occurrence of cardiac disease, as well as a corresponding rise in the number of heart-related deaths. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2010, cardiac disease will surpass AIDS as the leading cause of death in developing countries.

As the largest cause of death worldwide, cardiac disease has spawned the development of an entire industry dedicated to its treatment. T

What is cardiac disease?

Cardiac (or cardiovascular) disease refers to any condition affecting the ability of the heart and/or blood vessels to function properly. There are many different kinds of cardiac disease, but they all threaten the circulatory system in one way or another. This is what makes cardiac disease so deadly; a disruption of the blood supply to any part of the body can lead to tissue damage or death, often within a matter of minutes. Some of the major types of cardiac disease include:

  • Coronary heart disease
    • CHD is the condition that results from the buildup of plaques within the walls of arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients. CHD can lead to heart attacks, which occur when the buildup suddenly interrupts the heart's supply of blood, leading to the damage or death of heart tissue. This is the single largest cause of death in the world.
  • Cerebrovascular disease
    • Cerebrovascular disease is a condition in which the arteries leading the to the brain become obstructed, which can decrease blood supply to the brain. A stroke occurs when one of these arteries becomes completely blocked, cutting off the blood supply to all or part of the brain. This can result in significant brain damage, depending on the size of the obstructed artery and the duration of the blockage.
  • Hypertensive heart disease
    • Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can increase the risk for a number of other heart-related conditions, including heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, and congestive heart failure.

What causes cardiac disease?

Common risk factors are:

  • Tobacco smoking
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diets high in fat, salt, or refined carbohydrates
  • Elevated heart rate - can be caused by abuse of stimulant drugs


There are many drugs available for the treatment of cardiac disease. Surgery is often used to decrease the risk of cardiac arrest, heart attacks, etc. Exercise regimens and dietary modifications are commonly recommended to patients in order to combat blood cholesterol and hypertension levels.

Which companies are involved in the treatment of cardiac disease?

Pharmaceutical companies

Medical device manufacturers

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