Dr Sonny Jacob, specialising in internal medicine and cardiology at American Mission Hospital, observes that cardiovascular disease (CVD), once thought to be a disorder afflicting older people, is now prevalent among the middle-aged and the young. Though it usually manifests in adulthood, the process of atherosclerosis (fatty deposit or plaque that builds up inside the arteries) can begin as early as childhood.
The term CVD includes:
- Coronary heart disease, affecting the arteries supplying blood to this organ’s muscles, resulting in varied forms of heart attack.
- Cerebrovascular disease, affecting the arteries supplying blood to the brain, resulting in stroke.
- Peripheral vascular disease, affecting the arteries supplying blood to the limbs.
- Aortic atherosclerosis and aneurysm, affecting major arteries carrying fresh blood from the heart.
The main risk factors include metabolic aspects (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes), modifiable risk factors (unhealthy diet, smoking, sedentary lifestyle), a family history of heart attack or stroke in parents or siblings aged less than 50 years, and psychosocial factors (depression and perceived stress). There are multiple cardiovascular risk assessment scores for detecting a patient’s 10-year risk of developing CVD.
The parameters used are age, gender, total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. Patients with the above risk factors need detailed evaluation along with lifestyle modification. People aged 20 years or older without any established symptoms need to undergo cardiovascular risk assessment every three to five years.
Call 17 177-711.