Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the major cause of death across Europe leading to more than 1.9 millions death per year. In the UK, more than quarter men and women die from CVD diseases.
Its not only UK, Word Health Organisation predicts world-wide increase in the CVD related death.
So isn’t it a right time to think about what can we all do NOW to know Why we has a global society experiencing this increase in the CVD?
Extensive global clinical studies have identified several factors that increase the risk of Heart diseases and stroke.
I have 2 news for you one good and other not so good. First let me start with not-so good one then I can finish with positive hope with the good one!
Unfortunately there are a few factors which we can’t change which are termed as non-modifiable RF’s.
- Advanced age– being over 65 increases your risk of heart disease and risk of death from it.
- Gender-Being male increases your risk when compared to women.
- Genetics: They say you can select your friends but not your family. So true it has its advantages and disadvantages. If your close relatives, that is, either your parents or siblings have heart disease below the age of 55 then you are are more likely to develop it .
Some population have higher tendency to have increase in single risk factor which in-turns increases their overall CVD risk. For example people from African origin have more severe high blood pressure than Caucasians and hence higher risk of heart diseases. South Asians have high heart disease risk due to their higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
We can’t control these factors.
So what can we do?
Good news is, studies have also identified factors which you can modify, control or treat with medication or lifestyle changes to reduce your overall risk.
Don’t you think we all can focus much more on what we can do rather than what we can’t?
Modifiable risk factors
We all know smoking increases your CVD risk. In fact smokers are up-to 2-4 times greater risk than non-smokers!!!
Smoking is also a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease.Cigarette smoking also acts with other risk factors (such as blood pressure) to greatly increase the risk for coronary heart disease.Smoking increase your risk of suffering from Peripheral Artery disease [more about this in future blogs].
I understand it’s not easy to give up the habit. But willingness to ask for help is the first step towards success. Won’t you agree?
5.High blood cholesterol
As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more.
A person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet.
Joint British society recommends following guideline targets for cholesterol:
|Key Lipid Target for High Risk people|
|Total Cholesterol||<4mmol/ L or <155mg/dL|
|LDL (bad)||<2mmol/L or < 80 mg/dL|
Reference: Joint British Society-2
This risk factor is modifiable with medication or Lifestyle changes depending on its severity.
6.High blood pressure (BP)
If you have High BP and you smoke or have high cholesterol or are diabetes then your risk of risk of heart attack or stroke increases several times.
7. Physical inactivity
Simply put, leading an inactive lifestyle increases your a risk of coronary heart disease.
So why not enjoy regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity or exercise to keep your heart and blood vessel to be in top form?
8.Obesity and overweight
This is really no brainer. People who carry extra insulation (read: fat) around their body especially around belly are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors.
Overweight increases load on your heart, affects your BP and other health factors which we discussed above.
But wait a minute! Good news is even loosing 10% of your current weight, you can lower your heart disease risk.
- Diabetes mellitus: Diabetes have adverse effect on your risk of developing CVD. The risk increases even more when your blood sugar is not controlled.
If you have been diagnosed as pre-diabetes or are from South-Asian origin (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) take steps to prevent developing diabetes in the first place to avoid future complications.
Other factors that contribute to heart disease risk
In future blogs I will explore all these 12 risk factors and ways to control, reverse and prevent them in much more detail.
Also, I am developing a simple and fun tool that will help you and your family to easily identify and take control of these risk factors instantly. So watch the space!
In mean time, please share your comments, feedback and connect with me on social media.
I will be delighted to hear from you and your topic request.
Vitality Health Clinic
- US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the
Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004
3.Willigendael EM, Teijink JA, Bartelink ML, et al. Influence of smoking on incidence and prevalence of
peripheral arterial disease. J Vasc Surg 2004;40:1158–65.
- JBS 2: Joint British Societies’ guidelines on prevention of cardiovascular disease in clinical practice
- Preventive Cardiology. A practical manual. Jennings and colleagues, 2009.