Human circulatory system: Part
cardiovascular disease (CVD), causes,
cholesterol, heart attacks & strokes
Doc Brown's GCSE level Biology exam study revision notes
of notes on human circulatory system: heart, lungs & blood vessels
Keeping healthy: non-communicable diseases: risk factors for CVD, cancers, obesity, diabetes
6. Cardiovascular disease
(CVD) and lifestyle
Reminder: Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
is the scientific medical term for all types of disease that affect
the heart or blood vessels. CVD includes coronary heart
disease (clogged up arteries with fatty deposits), which can
cause heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery
is a medical term to
describe diseases of the heart or blood vessels.
CVD is usually associated with the narrowing
and blocking of the blood vessels (arteries) that convey oxygenated
blood away from the heart.
Arteries become narrowed due to the build up
of fatty deposits on the lining of damaged artery walls - often the
damage is caused by high blood pressure. The fatty deposits can also
cause blood clots.
One such example is coronary heart disease.
Heart disease is one of the major causes of
death in the UK and other developed countries.
Cholesterol is made in the liver and
transported in the blood.
Cholesterol is important and we need a
small amount of blood cholesterol because the body uses it to: build
the structure of cell membranes, make hormones like oestrogen,
testosterone and adrenal hormones.
Cholesterol also helps your
metabolism work efficiently is essential for your body to produce
However, high levels of cholesterol are
associated with heart disease.
Smoking is also very bad for you, and not just for causing lung
When breathed in, the chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood
They also can damage the function of your heart and the
structure and function of your blood vessels.
This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis - a disease
in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the
disease and a heart attack
Coronary heart disease is when the coronary
arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become blocked with
layers of cholesterol, fats and other materials deposited on the
inside of artery walls.
This effectively narrows the arteries restricting the blood flow.
This decreased blood flow means less oxygen
is carried to the heart muscles.
A lack of oxygen to work the heart muscles can
lead to a heart attack.
There is also an increased risk of blood clots
forming - these can block the flow of blood completely, greatly
increasing the chance of a heart attack.
See Part 7 for more on
A stroke occurs when a narrowed artery that
supplies blood to the brain, becomes blocked by a blood clot.
This deprives the brain of oxygen leading to a
Without rapid treatment, the results can be
disastrous - death, injury to the brain (e.g. memory) and central
nervous system (paralysis and physical coordination).
Recovery can be prolonged and often never
Summary of learning objectives and key words or phrases
Understand what is meant by cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Know some of the causes cardiovascular disease.
Know what can cause a
heart attacks or a strokes.
Be able to associate the risk of CVD with smoking and
other lifestyle factors, the onset of coronary heart disease
from fatty deposits on the walls of arteries, having a safer and
appropriate cholesterol level in the blood.
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Health: non-communicable diseases: risk factors for CVD, cancers, obesity, diabetes
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