Cardiovascular disease (affecting the heart and circulatory system) is the most common cause of death in the UK. It affects roughly one in three people and accounts for more than a quarter (26%) of all deaths. On average, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every three minutes.
Many people (around four out of five) get early warning signs that they may have the disease. Chest pain, tightness and breathlessness may all be indicators of cardiovascular problems.
More worryingly, however, one in five people have no symptoms at all to suggest there may be anything wrong, particularly in the early stages of the disease.
This is the case with so-called silent coronary artery disease, also nicknamed the silent killer. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. It is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries. If the arteries become blocked it can cause a heart attack. Most deaths from coronary artery disease – more than 66,000 each year in the UK – are as a result of a heart attack.
Cardio health screening significantly reduces the risk of death from heart attack or cardiac death. Screening picks up cardiovascular disease in its early stages when treatment can be most effective. Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor can recommend a course of preventative treatment to stop the condition from worsening.
Sadly, feeling fit and well is not necessarily a guarantee that your heart is healthy so you cannot rely on this as a gauge. Cardio health screening provides peace of mind by conducting a thorough assessment of your heart and circulatory system. If a problem is identified you can embark on a course of treatment that will dramatically reduce your risk of developing more serious heart problems.
Arrhythmia is a problem with the heart rhythm. Your heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses. If these malfunction the heart can begin to beat in an abnormal way; too quickly, too slowly or with an irregular rhythm.
More than two million people in the UK are believed to have some kind of arrhythmia. Most are able to lead a normal life, providing they have a proper diagnosis. However, atrial fibrillation makes you five times more likely to have a stroke. And. certain types of arrhythmia in people with severe heart conditions can lead sudden cardiac death.
If you are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cardio health screening is recommended. You are at particular risk if you:
- Are diabetic
- Have high blood pressure (arterial hypertension)
- Have high cholesterol
- Have a family history of angina and/or heart attack (coronary artery disease) especially if the age of first diagnosis was relatively early
- Don’t take regular exercise and spend a lot of time sitting down
- Are overweight
- Have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease (the carotid arteries supply the brain with blood)
- Have a family history of sudden death or cardiomyopathy (a condition where the heart muscle is abnormally thickened or the heart is enlarged)
- Have rheumatoid arthritis
- Smoke or used to smoke
- Are a man over the age of 40
- Are a woman over the age of 50
If you have more than one of those risk factors your risk will be even higher.
This is what will happen when you undergo cardio health screening at my clinic: