Difference Between Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart Disease

Main Difference – Cardiovascular Disease vs Coronary Heart Disease

Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary heart disease are two medical conditions related to the cardiovascular system. The term Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) refers to a group of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease is one of these diseases. This is the main difference between cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

This article covers,

1. What is Cardiovascular Disease
          – Definition, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

2. What is Coronary Artery Disease
           – Definition, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

3. Difference Between Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart DiseaseDifference Between Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart Disease - Comparison Summary

What is Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. Major types of CVD includes coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina, myocardial infarction (heart attack), arrhythmia heart failure, and heart valve problems.

Atherosclerosis, known to be the commonest cause for CVD, is precipitated by leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol, fatty food, lack of physical exercises and being overweight or obese.

Patients with CVD will usually experience shortness of breath, nausea, extreme fatigue, chest pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the upper and lower limbs, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back, palpitations, sweating and near fainting attacks.

Suspected patients will be further investigated with ECG, Echocardiogram and many other imaging studies to reveal the underlying etiology on which the further management will be decided.

Lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions to address underlying comorbidities are highly recommended for  patients with CVD. Some patients may need prompt therapy to avoid possible life-threatening complications like stroke and infarction.

Difference Between Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart Disease

What is Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease (CAD) is a common term used to describe a plaque in the heart’s arteries which could ultimately result in heart attack. These plaques will first grow within the walls of the coronary arteries until the blood flow to the heart’s muscle gets limited, resulting in ischemia.

Chronic narrowing of the coronary artery over time and limiting the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle can be less dangerous than the acute form, which will result from a sudden rupture of a plaque and formation of a thrombus or blood clot, completely compromising the perfusion to the heart muscle.

According to research studies, the initial changes associated with coronary heart disease will begin with damage or trauma to the inner layer of a coronary artery due to smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or insulin resistance. In general, people who are living a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk of having Coronary heart disease later in life.

Patients with Coronary artery disease will often have chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness which will get worse with time if timely interventions are not made. It is important to get an ECG and ECHO cardiogram for patients with suspected clinical features.

Lifestyle modifications play a major role in treating these patients with Coronary heart disease, which include quitting smoking and alcohol, regular physical exercises, prevention from obesity, and reducing consumption of oily and sugary food, etc. Stress management is also important in most of the patients since there is a clear correlation between tension and Cardiovascular disease.

In addition to those changes, some patients might need treatments like lipid-lowering statins to control cholesterol, ACE inhibitors to control hypertension and several other medications depending on the underlying comorbidities. Surgical options like stenting are indicated for patients who are severely compromised or not responding to pharmacological interventions.

Difference Between Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart Disease


Cardiovascular disease is a group of conditions which affect heart and blood vessels which include coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina and myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, Arrhythmia and heart valve problems.

Coronary heart disease which is a subtype of Cardiovascular disease which mainly affects the coronary arteries which perfuse the heart muscle.


Atherosclerosis is known to be the commonest cause for both Cardiovascular disease and Coronary heart disease, which will be precipitated by risk factors like leading a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, smoking, fatty and sugary food, stress and lack of physical exercises.

Also, Hyperlipidemia, Hypertension, and Diabetes mellitus are three major comorbidities which are often seen in patients diagnosed with either of Cardiovascular disease and Coronary heart disease.

Image Courtesy:

“Atherosclerosis 2011″ By National Heart Lung and Blood Insitute (NIH) – National Heart Lung and Blood Insitute (NIH) (Public Domain) via  

About the Author: Embogama

Embogama is a passionate freelance writer for several years. Her areas of interest include general medicine, clinical medicine, health and fitness, Ayurveda medicine, psychology, counseling and piano music

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