About Heart Disease

Every 7 minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease or stroke. Our mission is reduce the number of people dying and suffering from this disease.
More facts about heart disease
Hearts matter.

At first glance the human heart might appear like just a pump to move blood around the body. But it’s far more important than that. Beating on average 72 times a minute (every minute of our lives), our hearts pump blood that carries vital materials to help our bodies function, while simultaneously removing the waste products we don’t need.                
            
When our heart ceases to pump blood, our body begins to shut down. Then, after a very short period of time... we die.

Yes, hearts matter... a lot.

 

The cause of cardiovascular disease 

The primary cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis  – the narrowing and eventual blockage of arteries by the deposition of fatty plaques on the walls of the artery. Eventually these plaques can rupture – thrombosis – and the resultant blood clot deprives vital tissues of oxygen. If this happens in the major blood vessels supplying the heart, you have a heart attack. In the brain, you have a stroke. In the peripheral arteries, crippling pain can result.  

By understanding the causes of atherosclerosis (diabetes, cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure and family history) we can better improve human health.

 

 

Risk factors for heart disease

Much of the burden caused by cardiovascular is preventable. The major modifiable risk factors include tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, overweight and obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, and excessive intake of alcohol. Other risk factors that are beyond our control include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.

How our research is saving lives                

The Heart Research Institute is a medical research institute whose mission is to improve health by understanding the causes and complications of cardiovascular diseases. 

Although we have made great inroads in the 25 years since the Heart Research Institute was established, the job is not done yet. We are still striving for our ultimate goal of reducing the number of people who die from cardiovascular disease and to offer a better life for those who already suffer from the disease.

Heart research costs millions. No research costs more.

Prevention

90 per cent of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. We're investing in a future free from cardiovascular disease.

Detection

Heart disease accounts for 29 per cent of all deaths. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

Treatment

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Today's research is tomorrow's cure. 

Latest news from our research labs

Meet the team: Bob Lee

Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Bob Lee has experienced the research environment on both sides of the Tasman Sea. But while his life is currently in Sydney, Australia where the HRI is based, the ties to home remain strong for Bob. 

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Gout Drug Mends Broken Hearts

A drug used to treat arthritis has been found to clear clogged arteries in heart attack survivors, world-first HRI research shows.

The landmark discovery by Associate Professor Sanjay Patel, Leader of the Cell Therapeutics Group, and his team at the HRI paves the way for a cheap, simple and effective treatment regime that could protect thousands of heart patients from future attacks that might kill them or further damage their heart. 

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Cara's story

Congenital heart disease affects up to one in every 100 babies. I was that one baby.

My name is Cara. I’m 33, and I’ve had five open heart surgeries. This is my story.

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