Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease and stroke, represent two of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in developed countries. Several risk factors increase the risk of coronary disease and stroke. These risk factors can be divided into those that are modifiable and those that are not. Impressive declines in age-specific mortality rates from heart disease nd stroke have been achieved in all groups in North America during the past two decades, in large part through improvement of modifiable risk factors. Reductions in cigarette smoking, improvements in lipid levels and more aggressive detection and treatment of hypertension. This section considers the role of screening for cardiovascular risk and the use of effective therapies to reduce such risk and the use of effective therapies to reduce such risk.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a swelling an aneurysm of the aorta – the main blood vessel that leads away from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body. The abdominal aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and is usually around 2cm wide – roughly the width of a garden hose. However, it can swell to over 5.5cm what doctors class as a large Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. If a large aneurysm bursts, it causes huge internal bleeding and is usually fatal. The bulging occurs when the wall of the aorta weakens. Although what causes this weakness is unclear, smoking and high blood pressure are thought to increase the risk of an aneurysm. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is are most common in men aged over 65. A rupture accounts for more than 1 in 50 of all deaths in this group and a total of 6,000 deaths in England and Wales each year. This is why all men are invited for a screening test when they turn 65. The test involves a simple ultrasound scan, which takes around 10-15 minutes.
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