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Coronary heart disease: epidemiology and prevention 

Coronary heart disease: epidemiology and prevention

Coronary heart disease: epidemiology and prevention

Goodarz Danaei

and Kazem Rahimi



This chapter has been extensively revised, and now includes content from retired Chapter 16.13.3.

Updated on 29 Oct 2015. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 28 April 2017

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is now the leading cause of death and disability in almost all regions of the world. Despite recent declines in age-standardized death rates from CHD globally, the number of CHD deaths have been increasing due to a combination of growth in population numbers and their longevity. In addition, manifestation and outcome of CHD varies substantially between and within countries.

Unlike many medical conditions that are common, disable, and kill, CHD is to a large extent preventable. There are strong, unconfounded relationships between several risk factors and CHD mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction. The most important risk factors for CHD are smoking, high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and obesity. Controlling these risk factors, even in middle-aged individuals, through medical treatment as well as population-level interventions, may reduce CHD incidence by almost one-half.

Despite the apparent triumph in risk prediction and control, the search for new biomarkers, both phenotypic and genotypic, remains a major focus of cardiovascular research. Several novel markers of risk have already been identified and many more are likely to emerge during the next few years. However, the causal significance of these biomarkers, or their contribution to risk prediction, awaits further clarification.

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