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Analyzing heart disease and stroke worldwide

This is Science Today. Heart disease and stroke are often lumped together as cardiovascular disease, but while the risk factors are similar, stroke neurologist Anthony Kim of the University of California, San Francisco says the manifestations and implications of the disease are sometimes different. With stroke, there's either an interruption in blood flow to part of the brain, or bleeding in the brain.

Kim:    Whereas heart disease, we're talking about heart attacks, heart failure. Both diseases are related to high blood pressure, to diabetes, to high cholesterol. However, the relative impacts of these risk factors on these forms of disease are different.

Narrator:        In developing countries, Kim found that people tend to suffer more death and disability by stroke than heart disease, which is opposite the situation in the United States.

Kim:    High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for stroke. It is also a risk factor for heart disease, but not as strong of a risk factor for heart disease and so in resource constrained environments, there's probably a lot of very high blood pressure that's not being treated.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.