Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a collective term for a range of conditions that affect the heart and circulation.
The most common CVD conditions are heart attack and stroke which collectively are by far the leading causes of death worldwide.
A heart attack occurs when the small coronary arteries feeding the heart muscle with blood become suddenly blocked by a blood clot. This is usually caused by a rupturing of fatty cholesterol plaques that have built up over time in the walls of the arteries although clots can arrive from elsewhere in the body.
In either case, the sudden blockage deprives some of the heart muscle of the blood and oxygen it needs to function and if this goes on for long enough then that area of heart muscle will cease to function and die.
A stroke occurs in exactly the same way in the small arteries of the brain – although a second, less common type of stroke involves the artery rupturing instead of blocking and causing internal bleeding within the brain.
Heart attack and stroke kill more people than anything else. In fact, they collectively accounted for over 14 million deaths across the world in 2012 – almost five times more than the next leading cause and up a huge 20% from 2000.
Preventing cardiovascular disease
Despite being on the rise and killing more people globally than any other cause, your cardiovascular risk is largely under your control and you can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by;
keeping physically active
eating a healthy complex carbohydrate-based diet rich in fruit, vegetables and oily fish and low in fat, sugar and salt
keeping alcohol intake within healthy limits
avoiding tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke and
positively managing your emotions and stress levels
By following these simple lifestyles, blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be normalised, body weight can be managed and diabetes prevented – all of which are key drivers of cardiovascular risk.
Quealth will help you to understand your cardiovascular risk, assess your lifestyle and identify exactly how you can achieve significant improvements in your health and daily wellbeing.
Paul Nash – Quealth Clinical Lead