What is cardiovascular disease risk?
Bradford practice nurse Jan Proctor-King talks about cardiovascular disease risk.
Most cardiovascular disease (CVD) is caused by risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled – things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, smoking, not enough exercise and diabetes.
But some risk factors can’t be changed – advancing age, for example, brings with it more risk. Gender also influences CVD risk. Men are generally more at risk, as are women after the menopause. And if you have a family history of CVD, where a close blood relative (mother, father, sister or brother) had CVD or stroke before the age of 55 years (for men) or 65 years (for women), this also increases the risk.
You can read more about how to improve risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled.
Why have I been prescribed statins?
If you have been prescribed statins, your doctor has assessed that you are at significant risk of CVD. You may have high cholesterol levels, but you can also be at risk of CVD with what we used to think were “normal levels of cholesterol”. Statins can reduce this risk by a third if taken properly and at the right dose. Cholesterol is essential for your body to work well, but too much ‘bad cholesterol’ is unhealthy. Statins reduce the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ your body makes. High levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood can
Hypertension: so you’ve been told your blood pressure is too high?
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is one of the most common health problems in the UK. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 people in Bradford have undiagnosed high blood pressure.
It doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms but, if left untreated, it can do massive damage to our arteries and organs, helping to cause narrowing of the arteries. This, in turn, results in strokes and heart attacks, as
What do my blood pressure numbers mean?
For many people, the usual target for blood pressure is below 140/90 mmHg. If you have heart or circulatory disease, including being told you have coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack or stroke, or have diabetes or kidney disease, your doctor may recommend a lower target.
Every blood pressure reading consists of two numbers or measurements. They are shown as one number on top of the other and measured in mmHg, which means millimetres of mercury. If your reading is 120/80mmHg, you might hear your doctor or nurse saying your blood pressure is "120 over 80".
How can I monitor my blood pressure?
A good way to monitor blood pressure is by checking it at home. Blood pressure machines can be bought from most pharmacies and supermarkets. One example is the Omron M2 Basic. Upper arm blood pressure machines are recommended rather than wrist machines.
Here is one list of BP machines from the British Hypertension Society.
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of irregular heartbeat. We estimate that around 10,000 people in Bradford have this but many are undiagnosed.
It can increase the risk of a blood clot forming inside the chambers of the heart, which can lead to a stroke. AF increases stroke risk by around five times.