Why Heart Disease and Stroke Matter

Globally, more people die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) each year than from any other cause.  In 2008, about 17.3 million people died from CVDs, or about 30% of all global deaths.  About 7.3 million of these deaths were due to coronary heart disease and 6.2 million to stroke.  CVDs are projected to remain the single leading worldwide cause of death, reaching 23.3 million deaths annually by 2030.  Risk factors that can be modified through lifestyle changes include unhealthy diet, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and harmful alcohol use. An aging population and rising rates of obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension all contribute to escalating CVD deaths.

Current Research

UNC is working with nine other universities across the United States on a massive two-decade study to better understand  CVD and its risk factors within four communities in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina.  U.S. deaths from CVD have dropped by more than half in the past 30 years, largely due to declines in smoking and improvements in treating high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  But it is uncertain whether these gains will continue, and more research on causes and prevention is critical.  This study and others are yielding enormous insights on the impact of race, socioeconomic differences, genetic factors and health problems such as gum disease on CVD risk.

Additional Research in the Field of Heart Disease and Stroke

New study found no increased heart attack risk in users of proton pump inhibitors

Maps in new UNC-led study show each state’s stroke risk factors at a glance

Gillings researchers find link between number of births and heart disease risk factors in Hispanic/Latina population

Citing potential heart damage, experts recommend caution before taking calcium supplements

UNC receives $15M AHRQ award to advance heart health in NC primary care

Five-year heart health study shows promise in eastern NC


Highlighted Leaders in the Field