Anatomical heart model on a cardiologist's desk

Heart Disease

Learn about the symptoms, causes, treatments and possible preventions

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is any condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart.

These include heart defects from birth such as a hole in the heart (congenital heart defects), diseases affecting the heart muscle, blockages of the arteries to the heart (like coronary artery disease that causes heart attack), problems with the function of the heart valves, or heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Heart disease is a type of cardiovascular disease.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease describes a range of conditions that impact the heart and blood vessels throughout the body, leading to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, impaired blood supply to the legs and other related disorders.

What's the difference between heart disease and cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is the umbrella term for all diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels. It is often used interchangeably with heart disease, however it's not the same thing. It's good to remember that while all heart diseases are also classed as cardiovascular diseases, not all cardiovascular diseases are heart conditions.

Common types of heart diseases, heart conditions and risk factors

To see the symptoms, causes, specific preventions and treatments for heart disease, please visit dedicated pages for the disease type, condition or risk factor below. If you are looking for general heart health improvement tips, please visit How to Prevent Heart Disease.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years