Skip main navigation

Welcome to Week 2

Introduction to diseases which affect the heart and blood clotting processes such as haemostasis and thrombosis which will be covered in week 2.
Welcome to week two. This week in the following series of short videos, we’ll be exploring some of the specific cardiovascular diseases so that by the end of this week, you should have a better understanding of the process of atherosclerosis and be able to describe three cardiovascular diseases. That’s angina, heart attacks, and strokes. We’ve already covered some of the statistics for cardiovascular diseases and why they’re so important to each one of us. With one in three of us expected to die of cardiovascular diseases, and many more living with it, it’s a subject that lots of us want to understand better.
Last week, we looked at the structure and function of the cardiovascular system and this week we now look at three conditions. Of the 180,000 people die of cardiovascular diseases each year in the UK, nearly half die of coronary heart disease whilst over a quarter die of stroke. Coronary heart disease is caused by the atherosclerosis, or the furring up of the small coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle itself with vital blood and oxygen. This can result in either angina, or perhaps, a heart attack. Angina is caused by a narrowing of these small coronary arteries. It typically occurs in people over 65 and affects nearly 2% of men and just over 1% of women in the UK.
A heart attack is caused when these same small coronary arteries become blocked completely, for example, by a thrombus. Approximately 100,000 heart attacks occur each year in the UK and there are 900,000 men and 400,000 women who have had a heart attack in the UK. Fatal heart attacks typically occur to those over 85 and this results in about 18,000 deaths per year in the UK, or 50 a day, although that rate has halved in England since 2002 due to improvements in treatment. Strokes can also be caused when a thrombus forms, but this time in the blood vessels that supply the brain.
Unlike heart attacks, strokes affects men and women equally and there are approximately 1.2 million people in the UK who’ve had a stroke. Although strokes affect men more than women, because women live longer than men and because strokes typically happen later in life, women are actually more likely to die from a stroke. There are 50,000 fatal strokes in the UK each year and this equates to 130 per day. Now that we know the consequences of these three cardiovascular diseases, let’s find out more about them from the experts.

Welcome back. This week we will learn about some of the diseases that affect the heart and cardiovascular system and learn about blood clotting processes such as haemostasis and thrombosis. We will demonstrate how blood clots, and you will have the option to have a go at making a thrombus out of jelly.

Learning objectives

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Understand the process of atherosclerosis
  • Understand and describe the following cardiovascular diseases:

    • angina
    • heart attack
    • stroke

Your Mentors

Remember that the mentor team will be on hand to help support the discussions and answer your queries between 21 September – 18 October.

If you are mentioning the course on social media remember to tag comments with #FLHeartHealth. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook, where you can find the latest news and updates about all our online courses.

This article is from the free online

Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education