We are all at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.
These conditions can often be prevented, even if you have family members who have a history of these conditions.
You can do a simple check at your family doctor and you will be prepared for the future and you can take action to maintain or improve your health.
A Cardiovascular Risk check is a sophisticated check of your heart health. It is especially good for adults aged 40 to 74 years old. It checks your vascular or circulatory health and it calculates your risk of developing some disabling but preventable illnesses.
See it as your Essential Medical Check Up. It basically checks that some of your body’s most important systems are all working properly. It looks at your blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI for instance.
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The check is important because it can detect potential problems before they do real damage. Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia. The good news is that you often can prevent these conditions.
Your Cardiovascular Health Check will assess your risk of developing these conditions and give you personalised advice on how to reduce them.
What to expect?
You will be given some straightforward health tests including having your blood pressure, weight and height measured. This is to calculate your BMI. You will also be asked some questions about your family’s medical history and your lifestyle. It’s not embarrassing or painful and should only take 20-30 minutes. This can all be done by your General Practitioner (at GOOD PRACTICE for instance).
Your Health Check will be done by a doctor. The check takes about 20 to 30 minutes. There will be questions, measurements and blood tests.
You’ll be asked questions like:
- whether any of your close relatives have had the illnesses being checked for
- if and how much you smoke
- how much alcohol do you drink, if any
- how much physical activity do you do
Your weight and height will be measured to work out if you are a healthy weight for your height. This is also necessary to calculate your Body Mass Index.
Your waist may also be measured using a tape measure.
Your age, gender and ethnicity will be recorded.
Your blood pressure will be taken using a cuff fitted over your upper arm. Your pulse should be taken too.
You will have a blood test at the check. A sample will be taken to determine your lipid profile (all types of cholesterol), kidney function and blood sugar control.
We will use an evidence-based risk calculator to determine your risk to develop cardiovascular disease.
At GOOD PRACTICE we will do our best to explain the test results and we will discuss what the score means for you.
The possibility of harm from being treated unnecessarily is low, as medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol are known to be very safe. The possibility of harm from being falsely reassured by an inaccurate test are also small.
Once you know your blood pressure, cholesterol level, BMI and age the RISK calculator combines these results to calculate your risk. The calculations are based on studies which have observed the health “outcomes” of large numbers of people over many years using these same tests and questions.
Ask your GP about cardiovascular risk, especially when you are over 40 years old. A good family doctor knows what to look out for and will use a reliable tool to determine your risk.