September marks Vascular Disease Awareness month, but you might ask yourself – what is it and more importantly how can you prevent it?
Vascular disease is primarily caused by the build-up of fatty deposits which causes blockages or narrowing in blood vessels.
The accumulation of these deposits can happen over a long period of time and with no obvious symptoms until the arteries and veins become so damaged, the blood flow to vital organs and muscles is compromised and this can cause difficulty mobilising, pain and tissue death.
Vascular disease is the most common precursor to coronary heart disease and heart attack, it also causes strokes by affecting the arteries in your neck.
There are four main types of cardiovascular disease (CVD):
- Coronary heart disease
- Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
- Peripeheral Arterial disease
- Aortic disease
According to the British Heart Foundation, there are 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, there are 450 deaths every day from a heart or circulatory disease there are more than 100,000 hospital admissions each year due to heart attacks and one stroke occurs every five minutes.
What are the risk factors of vascular disease?
The exact cause of atherosclerosis is unknown, but several risk factors accelerate the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries:
- More common in men
- Family history of vascular disease, angina, heart attacks or stroke
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- High cholesterol levels
- An unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
Get on top of your heart health
You can have screening with your GP, and if you’re identified as having a potential cardiac risk, one option is to refer you to a specialist at Benenden Hospital for further review and a scan of your heart and coronary arteries.
Prevention is key to looking after your heart, especially if there is a history of someone in your extended family who has suffered a sudden and unexpected death due to heart problems. Often the simplest measures can reduce risk.
There are many things that you can do to improve your heart health and lower your heart age, these include:
- Stop smoking to lower heart risk
- Reduce saturated fats
- Be more active to improve your cardiovascular health
- Mind your weight with heart healthy meals
- Keep your blood pressure in check
At our CQC rated Outstanding hospital, our cardiology specialists offer a range of tests and scans. Our Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Konrad Grosser says “A cardiac MRI scan can assess your heart function and coronary circulation as well as your heart valves and greater vessels. It’s a very good test, which doesn’t use radiation.”
From heart monitoring to CT coronary angiograms and MRI scans, we can help you get on top of your heart health with our range of tests and scans. It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your Consultant or give us a call on 01580 363158.
Published on 23 September 2021