About Heart Disease

Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from heart disease. Our mission is reduce the number of people dying and suffering from this 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.

 

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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.

Donating to heart research helps give back time

Prevention

Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from heart disease. We're investing in a future free from cardiovascular disease. 

Detection

One in 20 New Zealanders have been diagnosed with heart disease. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death. 

Treatment

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand. Today's research is tomorrow's cure. 

Help fund vital research into heart disease

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Invest in a future free from cardiovascular disease.
Your donation will allow great science to flourish.
If you would prefer to donate by phone or cheque, please free call 0800 909 481.

Latest news from our research labs

Do we lose gains from exercise as our bodies get used to it?

One of the most beautiful things about the human body is its resilience and its ability to adapt to physical demands like exercise training. If you undertake exercise that’s physically challenging, your body will adapt to this stress to ensure the same activity feels slightly easier in the future. But is this adaptation a blessing or a curse? Could we lose gains from exercise as our bodies get used to it? And what can you do about it?

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Illuminate 2017: Celebrating science and curiosity

The Heart Research Institute’s annual Awards for Excellence dinner, Illuminate, was recently held to celebrate and recognise some of our most up-and-coming scientists and showcase to our supporters some of the advances we are making in our mission to fight cardiovascular disease.
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Meet the team: Bob Lee

Originally from Christchurch, 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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