About Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the UK's biggest killer. Our mission is reduce the number of people dying and suffering from this disease.
Hearts matter.

At first glance the human heart might appear like just a pump to move blood around the body. But it’s far more important than that. Beating on average 72 times a minute (every minute of our lives), our hearts pump blood that carries vital materials to help our bodies function, while simultaneously removing the waste products we don’t need.                
            
When our heart ceases to pump blood, our body begins to shut down. Then, after a very short period of time... we die.

Yes, hearts matter... a lot.

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The cause of cardiovascular disease 

The primary cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis – the narrowing and eventual blockage of arteries by the deposition of fatty plaques on the walls of the artery. Eventually these plaques can rupture – thrombosis – and the resultant blood clot deprives vital tissues of oxygen. If this happens in the major blood vessels supplying the heart, you have a heart attack. In the brain, you have a stroke. In the peripheral arteries, crippling pain can result.  

By understanding the causes of atherosclerosis (diabetes, cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure and family history) we can better improve human health.

 

Risk factors for heart disease

Much of the burden caused by cardiovascular is preventable. The major modifiable risk factors include tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, overweight and obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, and excessive intake of alcohol. Other risk factors that are beyond our control include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.

How our research is saving lives                

The Heart Research Institute is a medical research institute whose mission is to improve health by understanding the causes and complications of cardiovascular diseases. 

Although we have made great inroads in the 25 years since the Heart Research Institute was established, the job is not done yet. We are still striving for our ultimate goal of reducing the number of people who die from cardiovascular disease and to offer a better life for those who already suffer from the disease.

Heart research costs millions. No research costs more.

Donating to heart research helps give back time

Prevention

Every 3 minutes, someone in the UK dies from cardiovascular disease. We're investing in a future free from cardiovascular disease.

 

Detection

There are an estimated 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

 

Treatment

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the UK, killing 425 people every day. Today's research is tomorrow's cure.

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Latest news from our research labs

How to warm up properly

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart health and overall wellbeing – and the most important preparation for any movement or exercise is an appropriate warm-up. But if you’re confused about what that actually looks like, you’re not alone.

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Managing risk factors: type 2 diabetes

People with diabetes are up to four times as likely to develop heart disease as those without. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or have recently been diagnosed, the steps you take to either prevent or manage it are the same as you’d take to decrease your risk of heart disease, such as managing your diet and carbohydrates. Here's how.
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HRI awarded NHMRC Development Grant

Dr Steven Wise, Leader of the Applied Materials Group at HRI, has been awarded a prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Development Grant for his work inventing a sealant technology for valves used in heart surgery.

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