Heart Disease, at risk of

Heart disease and the risk of heart disease

There are a number of risk factors associated with heart disease.

Age The older you get, the more likely you are to develop heart disease. This is because aging increases the risk of damaged and/or narrowed arteries and weakened or thickened heart muscle.

Gender Men are more likely to develop heart disease, although a woman's risk increases after the menopause.

Family History A family history of heart disease, particularly in those aged before 55 (men) or 65 (women) indicates an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

Smoking Smoking increases the risk of clogging the arteries as nicotine constricts your blood vessels and carbon monoxide damages their inner lining.

Cancer Treatments Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapies may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Poor Diet A diet that is high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

High Blood Pressure Unchecked and controlled high blood pressure can harden and thicken arteries, narrowing the vessels through which blood flows.

High Cholesterol High cholesterol can cause a narrowing of the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease as both conditions share similar risk factors.

Obesity Carrying excess weight can contribute to a greater risk of heart disease.

Lack of Physical Activity Regular exercise, even gentle walks, can reduce the risk of heart disease.


What are the symptoms of the risk of heart disease?

Breathlessness, chest pain, aches in the chest or pressure on the chest, dizziness or blackouts and palpitations are all symptoms associated with heart disease.

Some indicate more serious conditions than others, but prolonged experience of these symptoms indicates that you may have some form of heart disease, and should therefore seek medical attention.

Some patients may have advanced underlying disease without any symptoms. These patients with a high level of risk factors for coronary disease may elect to undergo screening tests even in the absence of symptoms.



What assessment do I need if I have a risk of heart disease?

An initial consultation will explore your health history and any heart conditions suffered by closely-related family members. Then it is likely you will have an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, which takes around 10 minutes, and following that possibly an echocardiogram, which takes an additional 30 minutes.

If these tests indicate that a heart condition is present, then further screening and tests may be required to determine the exact nature of your condition and most suitable course of treatment.


What are the treatments for the risk of heart disease?

The tests and treatments for heart disease are varied depending upon the exact condition that has been diagnosed. Please refer to the individual conditions pages as well as the treatments listed for further information.

  • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM)

    This monitoring measures blood pressure during your usual activities. [READ MORE]

  • Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Catheter Ablation

    This is an invasive procedure to block the electrical signals causing atrial fibrillation and to restore sinus rhythm. [READ MORE]

  • Atrial Flutter Ablation

    This procedure blocks the electrical signals that cause a fluttering heartbeat and restores sinus rhythm. [READ MORE]

  • ASD / PFO Closure

    This minimally invasive procedure is used to close holes in the heart. [READ MORE]

  • Bioresorbable Scaffolds (Stents)

    This is a biodegradable device that can be used like a coronary stent. [READ MORE]

  • Carotid Doppler

    This is an ultrasound imaging test used to help determine the condition of the carotid artery. [READ MORE]

  • Coronary Angiogram

    This minimally invasive procedure is used to visualise the coronary arteries and assess the severity of any blockage. [READ MORE]

  • Coronary Angioplasty

    This minimally invasive procedure is used to treat narrowing of the coronary arteries. [READ MORE]

  • CTCA Scan & Calcium Score

    This scan is used to ascertain the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 5-10 years. [READ MORE]

  • Echocardiogram (TTE)

    An ‘echo’ is an ultrasound scan of the heart to assess structure and function. [READ MORE]

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) Test

    An ECG is a simple test that looks at the electrical activity of the heart. [READ MORE]

  • ECG Holter Monitoring

    This monitoring measures the electrical activity of your heart over a longer period than an ECG. [READ MORE]

  • Electrophysiology (EP) Study

    This study analyses the heart's electrical activity and is used to diagnose the cause of abnormal heartbeats. [READ MORE]

  • Event Recording, 1-6 weeks

    Monitors are used to provide a prolonged record of a heart’s operation and symptoms. [READ MORE]

  • Exercise Tolerance Testing

    This test measures the effects on the heart rhythm and blood pressure when exercise is undertaken. [READ MORE]

  • Healthy Heart Screening

    Healthy heart screening is available to all those aged 18 and over. [READ MORE]

  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

    This is an artificial device implanted in the chest to detect and correct a potentially dangerous heartbeat. [READ MORE]

  • Implantable Loop Recorder (ILR)

    This device records a heart’s rhythm continuously for up to two years. [READ MORE]

  • MRI Scan / CMR Scan

    These scans enable cardiologists to view detailed images of the heart’s anatomy. [READ MORE]

  • Pacemaker & Implanting a Pacemaker

    This is an artificial device that is implanted in the chest to regulate an abnormal heartbeat. [READ MORE]

  • Stress Echocardiography

    This is a procedure that uses ‘echo’ and ECG to assess how the heart’s blood vessels are working using either exercise or a drug to increase the heart rate. [READ MORE]

  • Tilt Table Test

    This test is predominately used to determine the cause of syncope (dizziness or fainting). [READ MORE]

  • Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)

    Sometimes an ‘echo’ scan of the heart requires an ultrasound probe to be passed down the food pipe to provide a clearer image. [READ MORE]



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