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Why is it important to understand cardiovascular disease?

Use key statistics and a glossary of heart health words to find out why is it important to understand cardiovascular disease.

In this video, Dr Natasha Barrett introduces the course and explains why it’s important to understand cardiovascular disease, including a look at some of the shocking statistics surrounding heart disease in the UK.

Throughout the course we’ll use medical and scientific terms that you may not have heard before. We’ve produced a downloadable glossary that you can refer to if there are any words you don’t understand.

Learning objectives

In order to understand cardiovascular disease, first we need to learn about the anatomy and function of the cardiovascular system. By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Describe the overall structure of the cardiovascular system, consisting of the circulatory system and the heart as a pump
  • Describe the function of the cardiovascular system
  • Describe the different blood vessel types
  • Describe each of the blood cells and plasma
  • Describe the structure of the heart including its four chambers
  • Describe the major blood vessels that enter and exit the heart, and the smaller blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with vital blood and oxygen
  • Describe the heart valves and their function in regulating the flow of blood through the heart
  • Describe the cardiac cycle and how this relates to an ECG (electro cardiogram)

Were you surprised about the mortality figures for cardiovascular disease? Why? Are there any additional reasons, not mentioned in the video, why it is important to understand cardiovascular diseases?

Share your thoughts in the discussion below. Remember you can like and respond to comments made by other learners.

The content in this course was filmed in 2014. Although many of the statistics given in this course haven’t changed significantly, there has been some progress in identifying and treating cardiovascular conditions since then. More up to data statistics can been accessed through the British Heart Foundation web pages here.

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Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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