Cardiovascular disease (CVD) describes disease of the heart and blood vessels and there are many forms of CVD, for example:
- coronary artery disease (CAD)
- heart attack
- stroke (also known as a CVA – cerebrovascular accident)
- congestive heart failure
- heart valve disease
- rhythm disturbances
- congential heart disease
- peripheral vascular disease
Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths in the UK each year than any other single disease or condition. Whilst some forms of the disease are related to genetics and family history, the good news is that CVD is one of the most preventable diseases and there are things that we can do to help prevent us from developing this or indeed help us limit further problems if we have already developed CVD.
Cardiovascular disease may have an extremely significant effect upon a person’s lifestyle. Dependent on the progression of the disease (which can begin even in childhood), there may be little or only subtle changes in health in the early stages. Sometimes these are attributed to other factors such as ‘being unfit’ or ‘getting older’. As the disease progresses, so do the symptoms and previously easy, everyday tasks can become a struggle. It may not be possible to walk very far or to carry the shopping; climbing the stairs may cause breathlessness.
There are a number of RISK FACTORS, some within our control and some not, that may predispose us to the development on cardiovascular disease. By understanding these risk factors and indeed our lifestyle choices, this can have a positive effect on our health.