Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
CVD is an inclusive term used for all types of diseases of the heart and circulation including:
- coronary heart disease
- heart attack
- congenital heart disease
- heart valve disease
Some CVD conditions may be linked by atherosclerosis which means there is a build up of fatty materials within the walls of your arteries narrowing the area of blood flow.
More information on CVD can be found on the British Heart Foundation website here.
CVD Risk Factors
There are many risk factors associated with CVD and stroke however some of these factors cannot be modified whilst others can be modified with treatment. CVD risk factors that can be modified include:
- Physical activity
- Tobacco use
- Unhealthy diets
- High blood pressure
- Obesity and being overweight
Common non-modifiable risk factors include:
- Family history
- Socioeconomic status
The World Heart Federation has more information on CVD risk factors
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK's single biggest killer and is responsible for around 73,000 deaths each year. About 1 in 6 men and 1 in 10 women will die from CHD.
For tips and information about CHD and how to avoid it go to the British Heart Foundation website.
NHS Choices also has information here.
A stroke is a ‘brain attack’ caused by a disturbance of the blood supply to the brain, which can lead to permanent brain damage.
Why you must Act F.A.S.T.
A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.
F.A.S.T stands for:
- Face: has their face fallen on one side?
- Arms: can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech: is their speech slurred?
- Time: time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.
The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.
Being aware of the the risk factors of CVD can help you to take preventative steps. You are more at risk of having a CVD condition, like a stroke, if you have certain other medical conditions which include:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Atrial Fibrillation
The risk of having a stroke and other CVD conditions is higher amongst people from certain ethnic groups, including South Asian, African and Caribbean due to higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.
For more information click here
Health checks are a good way of ensuring that you are healthy. Many conditions that could lead to CVD do not have any symptoms such as high blood pressure (hypertension). You can find out more information on high blood pressure here.
Find our more about Health Checks on the self care for life pages
High cholesterol is a risk factor for CVD, heart attacks and strokes. Causes of high cholesterol include saturated fat, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure.
More information on Diabetes can be found here
For information about high cholesterol from the British Heart Foundation click here
For information from NHS Choices click here.
People from certain ethnic backgrounds are more at risk of having a stroke, heart disease or heart attack. The British Heart Foundation has more information here
Reducing Risk Factors
By avoiding the lifestyle factors below you can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke:
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
- Exceeding the recommended daily alcohol limit. (The NHS recommends women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day and men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day).
The British Heart Foundation has information on preventing heart disease here
NHS Choices has information on preventing heart disease here
British Heart Foundation. Coronary Heart Disease is the UK's number one killer. Self Care could reduce your risk. The BHF website produces a vast amount of information on self care and looking after your heart that includes eating well, diet and weight management; tips on exercise; smoking cessation and more. BHF also produce a wealth of FREE resources that can be ordered or downloaded which can be found here.
Visit our Wellbeing For Life pages for more information and links on how to live a longer and healthy life.