Diseases that are caused by dysfunction in the heart or blood vessels are called cardiovascular disease. Nearly 2 million Swedes are affected. Cardiovascular disease is liable for most deaths in Sweden, and among these acute myocardial infarction is the most common cause of death in both women and men.
Women that suffer from cardiovascular disease are usually affected about ten years later in life than men. One likely reason is that the female hormone estrogen may have a protective effect.
The main risks for developing cardiovascular disease are hypertension, high blood lipids, abdominal fat, diabetes, stress and smoking. Heredity is also an important factor.