Heart disease: are you at risk?
Heart disease kills many people every year in the UK. Are you at risk of developing the condition?
Heart disease is often referred to as the 'silent killer', with coronary heart disease being the single most common cause of death before 65 in the UK. Mistakenly, heart disease is often thought of as more of a male condition. Although it is true that men are more likely to get heart disease at a younger age than women, the number of cases and deaths from heart disease are actually spread fairly evenly across both sexes.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
There are several risk factors for developing heart disease. Having a family history of early heart disease, or having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy can increase an individual's risk of developing heart disease. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of heart disease include having high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, having diabetes, smoking, having an unhealthy diet and being physically inactive. Here at Medichecks, we understand that no one is perfect, and it can be difficult to know if our lifestyle choices are putting us at risk of developing heart disease, especially as heart disease in its early stages has no obvious symptoms.
But worry no more! Our Heart Disease Risk Check is perfect for anybody wishing to assess their risk of heart disease, particularly those with a family history of the condition or who know that their lifestyle might put them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
What is included in the Heart Disease Risk Check?
The Heart Disease Risk Check looks at the main risk factors for heart disease including cholesterol and CRP-hs which is a measure of damaging inflammation.
1. Cholesterol status
The cholesterol status tests for triglycerides which are fatty particles found in the blood.
LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) is often referred to as the 'bad' cholesterol as these lipoproteins carry cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to accumulate on artery walls, potentially leading to the development of heart disease.
HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) which is often referred to as the 'good' cholesterol, is thought to have a protective role against heart disease risk as these lipoproteins remove fat from the arteries.
This test also looks at your non-HDL cholesterol, a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood that is not HDL cholesterol. This shows the levels of the 'bad' cholesterol that may eventually cause heart disease or a heart attack. Non-HDL cholesterol is thought to give a better indication of cardiovascular risk than focussing on LDL cholesterol alone.
2. Heart Disease Risk
HDL % of total cholesterol is considered to be more indicative of your risk of cardiovascular disease than total cholesterol alone. A result below 20% indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, while one above 20% indicates a lower than average risk.
3. Inflammation marker CRP-hs
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a marker used to assess whether there is inflammation in the body, however, it does not identify where the inflammation is located. A High Sensitivity CRP (CRP-hs) test is used to detect low-level inflammation in the body which is thought to damage blood vessels. Raised levels of CRP in the body increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, a heart attack or stroke.
A less than ideal result may not be all doom and gloom. The good news is our risk can be decreased by making healthier choices, and a Heart Disease Risk Check gives you the perfect tool to monitor your progress to see how your changes are improving your health. Both our Well Woman and Well Man UltraVit tests include a heart disease risk check as well as a number of other tests, including a full blood count, liver and kidney function and a diabetes check.