Cardiovascular Risk profile 1
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12 tests included
3 working days
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CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK, but it can often largely be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. There are many different types of CVD. Four of the main types are described below.
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced.
This puts an increased strain on the heart and can lead to:
- angina – chest pain caused by restricted blood flow to the heart muscle
- heart attacks – where the blood flow to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked
- heart failure – where the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly
A stroke is where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can cause brain damage and possibly death.
A transient ischaemic attack (also called a TIA or "mini-stroke") is similar, but the blood flow to the brain is only temporarily disrupted.
The main symptoms of a stroke or TIA can be remembered with the word FAST, which stands for:
- Face – the face may have drooped on one side, the person may be unable to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or they may not be able to talk at all.
- Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.
The peripheral arterial disease occurs when there's a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually the legs.
This can cause:
- dull or cramping leg pain, which is worse when walking and gets better with rest
- hair loss on the legs and feet
- numbness or weakness in the legs
- persistent ulcers (open sores) on the feet and legs
Aortic diseases are a group of conditions affecting the aorta. This is the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
One of the most common aortic diseases is an aortic aneurysm, where the aorta becomes weakened and bulges outwards.
This doesn't usually have any symptoms, but there's a chance it could burst and cause life-threatening bleeding.
High blood pressureHigh blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most important risk factors for CVD. If your blood pressure is too high, it can damage your blood vessels.
SmokingSmoking and other tobacco use is also a significant risk factor for CVD. The harmful substances in tobacco can damage and narrow your blood vessels.
High cholesterolCholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. If you have high cholesterol, it can cause your blood vessels to narrow and increase your risk of developing a blood clot.
DiabetesDiabetes is a lifelong condition that causes your blood sugar level to become too high. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, making them more likely to become narrowed. Many people with type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese, which is also a risk factor for CVD.
InactivityIf you don't exercise regularly, it's more likely that you'll have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and be overweight. All of these are risk factors for CVD. Exercising regularly will help keep your heart healthy. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obeseBeing overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for CVD. You're at an increased risk of CVD if:
- your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or above
- you're a man with a waist measurement of 94cm (about 37 inches) or more, or a woman with a waist measurement of 80cm (about 31.5 inches) or more
Family history of CVDIf you have a family history of CVD, your risk of developing it is also increased. You're considered to have a family history of CVD if either:
- your father or brother were diagnosed with CVD before they were 55
- your mother or sister were diagnosed with CVD before they were 65
Ethnic backgroundIn the UK, CVD is more common in people of South Asian and African or Caribbean background. This is because people from these backgrounds are more likely to have other risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Other risk factorsOther factors that affect your risk of developing CVD include:
- age – CVD is most common in people over 50 and your risk of developing it increases as you get older
- gender – men are more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women
- diet – an unhealthy diet can lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- alcohol – excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and contribute to weight gain
Identifying the risk of cardiovascular disease should be based on their presenting risk factors, clinical judgement by your doctor, and the use of risk calculators. Results of the tests that are part of the Cardiovascular Risk profile are typically evaluated together to look for patterns of results.
A single abnormal test result may mean something different than if several test results are abnormal. For example, a LDL-C normal range can vary due to a number of risk factors the patient is having. A health practitioner will consider all the information from the workup to establish a diagnosis.
Test results are not diagnostic of a specific condition but give the healthcare practitioner information about the potential cause of a person’s symptoms or status. See the pages on the individual tests for more detailed information about each one.
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.
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