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The 4 types of cardiovascular diseaseJan 24, 2024

What is meant by cardiovascular health?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels.

Blood flow to the heart, brain or body can be reduced because of a:

  • blood clot (thrombosis) 
  • build-up of fatty deposits inside an artery, leading to the artery hardening and narrowing (atherosclerosis)

CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in Canada, but it can often largely be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.

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Types of CVD

There are four main types of CVD:

  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • aortic disease

Each type is discussed in more detail below.

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when your heart muscle’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances (atheroma) in the coronary arteries.

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The coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood.

If your coronary arteries become narrow due to a build-up of atheroma, the blood supply to your heart muscle will be restricted. This can cause angina (chest pains).

If a coronary artery becomes completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack. This is a medical emergency.


A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed.

Like all organs, your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function properly. This is provided by the blood, so if your blood flow is restricted or stopped, brain cells will begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.

Therefore, a stroke is a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential. The sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to occur.

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease occurs when there’s a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually the legs.

This can cause:

  • dull or cramping leg pain, which is worse when walking and gets better with rest
  • hair loss on the legs and feet
  • numbness or weakness in the legs
  • persistent ulcers (open sores) on the feet and legs

Aortic disease

Aortic diseases are a group of conditions affecting the aorta. This is the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

One of the most common aortic diseases is an aortic aneurysm, where the aorta becomes weakened and bulges outwards.

This doesn’t usually have any symptoms, but there’s a chance it could burst and cause life-threatening bleeding.

What is the cardiovascular assessment?

The assessment of the cardiovascular system includes a thorough medical history and a detailed examination of the heart and peripheral vascular system.

We offer a thorough screening suite to proactively assess and manage your cardiovascular and internal health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and enhancing overall well-being.

Screening Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive, painless procedure that uses sound waves to examine the blood flow through the carotid arteries. It also evaluates the thickness of the carotid artery wall and checks for clots.

One carotid artery is located on each side of the neck. These arteries deliver blood from the heart to the brain.

A carotid ultrasound tests for blocked or narrowed carotid arteries, which can increase the risk of stroke. The test results can help your health care provider determine a treatment to lower your stroke risk.

Screening Abdominal Ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses high-frequency sound waves to evaluate the aorta, the main artery in the abdomen, and other arteries that deliver blood to the major organs in the body.

It is performed to evaluate major abdominal vessels for pathologies such as dissection, aneurysm, or venous thromboembolism.

Cardiac Stress Screening

A cardiac stress screening is a very commonly performed test to learn:

  • How well your heart pumps blood.
  • Whether your heart is receiving an adequate blood supply.
  • How you perform physical activity (riding a treadmill or stationary bike) compared with other people your age and sex.

If your symptoms (chest discomfort, shortness of breath, feeling like your heart is racing or even dizziness) can be reproduced while performing physical activity.

This makes it easier to identify and evaluate certain heart issues, such as:

  • Issues with your muscles or valves.
  • Adequate blood supply to your heart muscle.
  • Electric stability of your heart at rest and during exercise.

Cardiac stress tests help us determine whether you need additional — often more invasive — testing to confirm a diagnosis or if treatment might lower your heart attack risk and make you feel better.

The R•MEDY is dedicated to helping you receive the medical care necessary to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Through our comprehensive cardiovascular assessment, you can have potential health risks identified and evaluated in a personal, caring environment. For more information, contact us.