How to reduce your risk of heart disease
PUBLISHED: 16:10 13 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:58 20 February 2013
World Heart Day on the 29th of September should prompt us all to reflect on our current lifestyle and ask of ourselves: Am I doing all I can to reduce my risk of heart disease? Consultant cardiologist Mark Tanner tells us how
By Mark Tanner, Consultant Cardiologist
WE all know that heart disease is a major killer but you might not have reflected on its sheer scale recently. Coronary heart disease (CHD) results when the hearts own blood supply (the coronary arteries) becomes compromised and is the cause of over 90 000 deaths per year in the UK. The gradual accumulation of fatty deposits in the arterial walls (atherosclerosis) can result in narrowing of the vessels. In turn, blood flow to the heart and hence oxygen delivery is reduced. Like any muscle deprived of oxygen, the heart begins to ache. This pain is known as "angina" (derived from the Greek for "strangling"); a constricting sensation most commonly felt in the central chest, neck, and arms. If the blood supply to the heart is completely blocked (by blood clot forming on top of a narrowing) a heart attack (myocardial infarction) ensues.
So who gets coronary disease and what can you do to prevent it?
Your likelihood of developing CHD relates to a number of "risk factors". These include advancing age, gender (men have a 2-3 times increased risk), and a family history of premature CHD. Whilst theres not much you can do to influence these, there is still much to play for.
The following represent the so-called "modifiable" risk factors:
The World Heart Federation estimates at least 80 per cent of premature cardiac deaths could be avoided if these risk factors are controlled. In short, our risk of coronary disease can be dramatically influenced by our lifestyle choices:
A scintilla of good news; a small amount of alcohol seems to have a favourable effect on the heart.
World Heart Day should prompt us all to reflect on our current lifestyle and ask of ourselves: Am I doing all I can to reduce my risk of heart disease? If the answer is yes then perhaps you can enjoy a celebratory glass of wine on World Heart Day!
For more information please contact Nuffield Health Chichester Hospital on 01243 530600 or visit www.nuffieldhealth.com/chichester