The British Heart Foundation has stated that heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK – which equates to more than 160,000 deaths a year, 460 deaths a day (on average) or one every three minutes in the UK.
They also revealed that around 7.6 million people live with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK. However, you may be interested that many heart and circulatory diseases are caused by risk factors that can be controlled, modified or treated.
What are the main risk factors associated with heart health?
The main risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease include:
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced in the liver and all your body’s cells. You need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but too much cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of circulatory and heart diseases. High cholesterol levels can lead to fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which can grow over time and make blood flow through the arteries difficult. These clots can then break, forming a clot that could cause a heart attack or stroke.
#High blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within your arteries (the vessels that carry the blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body). You need a certain amount of pressure to get the blood moving around your body, but if your blood pressure is consistently high, even when you are resting, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition caused by too much blood sugar in your body. Blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin, a hormone created by your pancreas that helps store glucose in your fat, liver and muscles. If your blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas will release insulin to keep as energy for later use.
If your weight is excessive, this can lead to fatty material building up in your organs, damaging and clogging up the arteries leading to your heart and causing a heart attack. Carrying weight around your middle can also make it harder for your body to produce insulin, which controls your blood glucose levels.
Cigarette chemicals make your artery walls sticky, causing fatty materials to stick to them. This fatty material can start to clog your arteries and reduce the space for blood to flow correctly. The arteries that carry blood to get your heart get blocked, leading to a heart attack. Smoking can also affect your heart by causing an instant rise in your blood pressure and heart rate, increasing your risk of blood clots and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to the rest of your body.
How can I check my heart health?
If you are curious about your heart health, you can use Test2Go’s at-home Heart Health Test to look at some of the most critical indicators of risks to your heart’s health – including a complete cholesterol profile and a test for diabetes to see how well your body is controlling your blood sugar.
Our home test kit requires a finger prick blood sample to be provided – with sample collection and return instructions being supplied in the kit. You should receive your results within two working days of the sample being received at our accredited labs.
NB. It is important to note that our tests are not a substitute for seeing a doctor, particularly if you have symptoms. You should not make a diagnosis or start any treatment without a consultation with a doctor or a suitably trained health professional.