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What we have to say about your health and well being
8
Feb 2016
Cardiovascular Disease by Katy Tehrani

Cardiovascular (CV) disease is a general term that refers to any disorder(s) regarding the heart or blood vessels.

Causes

The main causes of CV disease are:

  • by the build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma) within the inner layer of an artery resulting in the hardening and narrowing of the artery (atherosclerosis).
  • as a result of a blood clot (thrombosis)

Main Types of CV disease:

  • Coronary Heart disease - caused by narrowing of the heart blood vessels due to an atheroma, reducing the supply and flow of the oxygen rich blood to the heart.
  • Stroke – caused by a blockage in the blood supply to the brain due to a blood clot (thrombus) that forms over an atheroma.
  • Peripheral arterial disease – caused by a blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the limbs.
  • Aortic Disease- caused by a weakening of the aorta (largest blood vessel that supplies blood to the body) wall.

Risk factors

  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Obesity - a waist measurement of above102 cm for men (92 cm for Asian men) and above 88 cm for women (78 cm for Asian women) is a risk factor.
  • Unhealthy and salty diet – above the daily recommended amount of 5g salt (one teaspoonful).
  • Alcohol – Above the recommended weekly guidelines of 14 units
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol level.
  • High fat (triglyceride) blood level.
  • Diabetes.
  • Kidney diseases
  • Family history- if your father or brother was less than 55 years of age when diagnosed with CVD, or your mother or sister was less than 65 years of age when diagnosed with CVD
  • Ethnic background- South Asian communities have higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease.

Prevention

Lifestyle factors that could reduce the risk of CV disease:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Choosing a healthy diet (having oily fish, fruits and vegetables in daily diet; low salt intake )
  • Physical activity-–at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week.
  • Limit the units of alcohol per week and avoiding binge drinking
  • Regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Cardiovascular health risk assessment (for people aged over 40)- This is used by GPs and practice nurses to assess a patient’s cardiovascular health risk . A score is estimated based on the patient’s risk factors such as age, sex, smoking status, blood pressure, cholesterol level, etc. Analyzing the scores:
    • If the score is 20% or more-high risk, (2 in 10 chance for developing CV disease in the next 10 years)
    • If the score is 10-20% -moderate risk, (it means 1-2 in 10 is the chance for developing CV disease)
    • If the score is less than 10% -low risk, (it means less than a 1 in 10 chance for CV disease)

Treatment

CV Disease can be managed effectively with a combination of lifestyle changes, medicines and, in some cases, surgery. Please refer to the references for more details.

References

http://patient.info/health/preventing-cardiovascular-diseases

https://www.bhf.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/cardiovascular-disease/Pages/Risk-factors.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cardiovascular-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nbcsl.org/public-policy/state-issues/state-issues-archive/item/278-heart-disease-awareness-and-prevention-the-“silent-killer”.html

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