NHS Health Checks
Health screening....The surgery is offering NHS health checks or 'well man/woman' checks.
After a check you should have information on your cardiovascuar risk.
Now what to do?
We suggest you might read the following.
If you decide as a result that you would like to consider medication or have unanswered questions or concerns then please make an appointment with your GP (telephone appointment is fine, or face to face if preferred).
Don't forget that diet and exercise and smoking and alcohol and stress/mental illness probably have the greatest impact on our health....your check may be a good prompt to see just how healthy a lifestyle you are living! Again, please speak to your GP or Nurse.
Risk of Cardiovascular disease:
The health screen we offer uses several factors to estimate an individual risk of heart and circulation disease in the next 10 years. (Qrisk: http://qrisk.org/)
These factors include Age, Sex, Smoking, Blood pressure, Ethnicity, Cholesterol, social deprivation, kidney disease, obesity.
If your risk score is <10% then you are said to be at low risk.
If your cardiovascular risk is >10% then you are at moderate risk.
>40% is high risk.
So, more importantly, what can I do about it?
We talk about ‘modifiable’ risk factors:
Smoking, Weight, Exercise levels, Cholesterol levels, Blood Pressure.
ie: if we can change some of these things we can improve our risk of having heart/circulatory disease.
So what are the benefits if I try to live a healthier lifestyle?
You can use this Qrisk web calculator (http://qrisk.org/index.php)
to see how altering things about you might lower your risk of heart disease: for instance….you could see what happens if you stopped smoking or lost weight.
For example if I am male, 65yrs old, smoker, BMI 26, cholesterol 5: My risk comes out at 23%
If I stop smoking my risk falls to 18% !
Healthy lifestyle and exercise
It should not be a surprise that we can reduce our risk by keeping healthy.
It’s much harder to put a figure on the benefits of exercise but it is likely to be large.
So now I know my cholesterol level….should I try to change it?
What does this cholesterol reading means to me personally?
http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Cholesterol.htm (you can find out more info here).
Most cholesterol is made in the liver so you can’t change it that much by diet (even if you only ate lettuce your liver would make cholesterol!)
So realistically if you are going to lower cholesterol levels significantly then we are talking about taking a daily ‘Statin’ tablet, usually Atorvastatin. (The other common 'Statins' are Simvastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin.)
NICE has said that people with a risk of >10% can be offered Statins on the NHS
Thinking of taking Statins?
How much benefit will it give me?
We should not give the impression that statins by themselves are a panacea. They have some benefits.
The following Link gives you an idea of this…
Looking at the illustrations you will see that the benefits of statins increase as your risk increases.
This is why we definitely recommend them for the high risk people who have had heart attacks and strokes or diabetes (over 40yrs old) or familial hypercholesterolaemia.