Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It's usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots. This profile provides ECG, and measures the lipids, inflammation markers and clotting activity in the blood.
CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK, but it can often largely be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.
There are many different types of CVD. Four of the main types are described below.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced.
This puts an increased strain on the heart and can lead to:
A stroke is where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can cause brain damage and possibly death.
A transient ischaemic attack (also called a TIA or “mini-stroke”) is similar, but the blood flow to the brain is only temporarily disrupted.
The main symptoms of a stroke or TIA can be remembered with the word FAST, which stands for:
The peripheral arterial disease occurs when there’s a blockage in the arteries to the limbs, usually the legs.
This can cause:
Aortic diseases are a group of conditions affecting the aorta. This is the largest blood vessel in the body, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
One of the most common aortic diseases is an aortic aneurysm, where the aorta becomes weakened and bulges outwards.
This doesn’t usually have any symptoms, but there’s a chance it could burst and cause life-threatening bleeding.
The fasting for at least 12 hours is required.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD. This profile will help your doctor to assess the risk of CVD based on blood risk factors.
The main risk factors for CVD are outlined below.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most important risk factors for CVD. If your blood pressure is too high, it can damage your blood vessels.
Smoking and other tobacco use is also a significant risk factor for CVD. The harmful substances in tobacco can damage and narrow your blood vessels.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. If you have high cholesterol, it can cause your blood vessels to narrow and increase your risk of developing a blood clot.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes your blood sugar level to become too high.
High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, making them more likely to become narrowed.
Many people with type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese, which is also a risk factor for CVD.
If you don’t exercise regularly, it’s more likely that you’ll have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and be overweight. All of these are risk factors for CVD.
Exercising regularly will help keep your heart healthy. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for CVD.
You’re at an increased risk of CVD if:
If you have a family history of CVD, your risk of developing it is also increased.
You’re considered to have a family history of CVD if either:
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have a family history of CVD. They may suggest checking your blood pressure and cholesterol level.
In the UK, CVD is more common in people of South Asian and African or Caribbean background.
This is because people from these backgrounds are more likely to have other risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Other factors that affect your risk of developing CVD include:
Identifying the risk of cardiovascular disease should be based on their presenting risk factors, clinical judgement by your doctor, and the use of risk calculators.
Results of the tests that are part of the Cardiovascular Risk profile are typically evaluated together to look for patterns of results. A single abnormal test result may mean something different than if several test results are abnormal. For example, a LDL-C normal range can vary due to a number of risk factors the patient is having. A health practitioner will consider all the information from the workup to establish a diagnosis.
Test results are not diagnostic of a specific condition but give the healthcare practitioner information about the potential cause of a person’s symptoms or status.
See the pages on the individual tests for more detailed information about each one.
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.
Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.
General Health Check profile is a comprehensive panel of 44 blood and urine parameters and ECG to provide you with extensive range of important information about the current status of a heart function, an infection or inflammation and bleeding or clotting disorders, metabolism, including the health of the kidneys and liver, thyroid, electrolyte and acid/base balance as well as levels of blood glucose and blood proteins. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.
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