cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular Disease

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve blocked or narrowed blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or other heart problems. Heart attack is the most common cardiovascular event. Although many people survive and return to normal life after a heart attack, quality of life and long-term survival may be reduced, and these people are more prone to future cardiovascular events. There are many risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease including diet, lack of exercise, smoking and exposure to air pollution.


Why is this indicator included in CalEnviroScreen?

  • People with preexisting heart disease or a previous heart attack may respond differently to the effects of pollution than people without heart disease.

  • Short-term exposure to outdoor air pollution following a heart attack has been shown to increase the risk of death. Long-term exposure to air pollution may also result in premature death for people with a previous heart attack.

  • The effects of air pollution may also be greater in the elderly and people with other preexisting health conditions.


How is cardiovascular disease measured in CalEnviroScreen 3.0?

  • There are different ways of measuring cardiovascular disease in California. These include its prevalence (the number of people living with cardiovascular disease), emergency department visits for cardiovascular events such as heart attack, or deaths from heart attack.

  • The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development collects information on emergency department visits and hospitalizations from different causes in California.

  • Emergency department visits for heart attacks are currently the best available way of describing differences in cardiovascular disease across the state at the census tract scale. Due to a lack of data on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, emergency department visits for heart attacks was selected as a good indicator of cardiovascular disease.

  • The indicator is the number of heart attack emergency department visits per 10,000 people for the years 2011-2013.

  • A complete description of the Cardiovascular Disease indicator can be found in the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 report.


Where can I find more information about cardiovascular disease and heart attacks?

CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Cardiovascular Disease Map

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