Dr Honeybourne talks about Heart Disease


Monthly Health Heartlands Hospital

The UK has one of the highest death rates in the world for coronary heart disease, with one British adult dying every three minutes. Over 300,000 people have a heart attack each year.

As one of the UK’s biggest killer, one in every four men and one in every six women die from the disease.

The heart is responsible for pumping blood around the body, the size of a fist; it beats approximately 70 times a minute. The heart gets its own blood supply from a network of blood vessels called coronary arteries. If these arteries become blocked or narrowed due to a gradual build up of fatty substances within the walls, this leads to heart disease.

Coronary disease is a heart and circulatory condition also known as cardiovascular disease.

According to the British Heart Foundation 80% of the 2.6 million people who have coronary heart disease could have been prevented, through simple lifestyle changes. Making changes such as stopping smoking, controlling your blood pressure, and doing regular exercise, along with eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking alcohol in moderation can also help keep your heart healthy. If you already have heart disease you can take these steps to reduce the risk of further heart-related problems.

There are several factors to watch out for which can also increase your risk of developing the disease, these include: smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, being overweight or obese, diabetes and having a history of heart disease in your family. It is important to remember that your risk of developing heart disease increases with age and those of South Asian descent are at increased risk.

If you feel you are anxious about heart disease you can visit your GP or practice nurse who can carry out a risk assessment. From this test your GP can determined how you can keep your heart healthy and decide whether you need treatment, such as medicines. The assessment takes into account all the risk factors including your lifestyle, your weight, height, waist measurements and your blood pressure.

There are also a number of different tests that can be done to determine a diagnosis, including coronary angiogram which provides information about blood pressure inside your heart and how well the chambers and valves are working; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which can be used to produce detailed images of the heart and blood vessels. MRI can also measure the flow of blood through your heart and major arteries.

Although there is no cure for coronary heart disease, with the right treatment the symptoms can be reduced and the heart’s functioning improved. Recent progress in new medicines and improvements in surgical procedures means that it can be managed more effectively.

To find out more visit NHS Direct www.nhsdirect.nhs.com or call the heart information line on 08450 70 80.


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