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.

Download your free heart disease information pack

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.

Did you know?

Help fund vital research into heart disease

Select your donation amount
Please enter or select your donation amount.
Invest in a future free from cardiovascular disease.
Your donation will allow great science to flourish.
Use Gift Aid to increase the value of your donation.

Latest news from our research labs

Healthy Whole Foods Easter Menu

One of the wonderful things about holidays and special celebrations is the food! There’s no need to get off track with your healthy habits just because it’s a long weekend. With an unusual abundance of chocolate about, we think it pays to whip up a healthy dinner party for your weekend entertaining rather than spending next week in a food coma because you overdid it. Here’s a nutritious, delicious, bursting with flavour Easter menu that consists of whole, fresh, unprocessed foods that  doesn’t overdo it on the calories. 

Read more

Will a fitness tracker help you reach your health and fitness goals?

It’s hard to deny the growing trend of wearable activity and fitness trackers. If you pay close attention to the wrist of the person next to you, chances are you’ll find they’re not just keeping track of the time, but their daily step count, energy expenditure, heart rate or sleep quality.

Read more

Dr Anna Waterhouse joins HRI as Group Leader

The HRI is pleased to welcome Dr Anna Waterhouse as Group Leader of the Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. Dr Waterhouse’s research focuses on how medical devices – such as artificial hearts, stents and bypass machines – interact with the body. Her aim is to understand the interactions of medical devices with patients’ blood, proteins and cells to develop more sophisticated and compatible materials. 

Read more