Cardiovascular risk assessment
We adopt a 3 step strategy in the assessment of your cardiovascular risk:
- Firstly, we estimate your 10-year cardiovascular risk using a
risk calculator to get a rough estimate.
- Secondly, we aim to personalise the risk assessment process to you, the individual, by enquiring about additional factors that could influence your risk; for example, a strong family history of heart disease, race, ethnicity, chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, socio-economic status and level of engagement with personal health and well-being.
– Would you benefit from a statin?
- Finally we then embark on the process of re-classification of cardiovascular risk with the help of a CT scan of your heart.
Using sophisticated imaging and computer software, we can quantify the burden of calcium within your heart arteries
and derive a score.
– Coronary artery calcium score 0- no statin; 1-99- clinical judgement; 100 or more- statin.
Managing your cholesterol level becomes imperative in order to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The benefits and risks of taking a statin will be discussed with you by your clinician. If you have had a stroke, have established heart disease or peripheral vascular disease, you should consider taking a statin as soon as possible.
Prior to commencing on a statin, other risk factors would be assessed including:
- Smoking history
- Alcohol consumption
- Your blood pressure
- Whether you are a healthy weight
- The levels of glucose (sugar), fat and different types of cholesterol in your blood
- The levels of thyroid hormones in your blood
- Whether you have persistent, unexplained muscle pain.
Atorvastatin is the first statin of choice for the management of your cholesterol levels. Type 2 diabetics have at least 10% risk of developing cardiovascular disease over 10 years and should be commenced on atorvastatin.
An eating plan directed towards your cardiovascular health should encourage a high consumption of plant-based, nutritionally-dense foods. Periods of fasting in non-diabetics can help regulate insulin levels, boost gut and immune function and help maintain a steady weight. It is advisable to consume healthy, well-portioned evening meals, containing a moderate portion of complex carbohydrates, vegetables,
plant-based fats and proteins.
Avoid processed food and keep takeaway foods to a minimum. Avoid foods high in saturated fats (fatty meat, cheese, butter). Instead, choose foods high in monounsaturated (olive oil and rapeseed oil) and polyunsaturated fats (corn oil and sunflower oil).
Reduce intake of refined sugar-containing foods(cakes, biscuits). Consumption of refined sugar-containing foods can cause high spikes in insulin (fat-storing hormone); over time this can result in an increase in weight-gain.
Avoid frying or roasting food in fat or ghee. It is preferable to it steam, poach, bake or casserole foods. Use herbs, spices and lemon juice to add flavour and minimise to use of buttery, cheesy or creamy sauces as they tend to be high in fat.
Use wholegrain variety of starchy foods eg: wholegrain bread, pasta, rice.
Fish is a preferred source of protein after plant-based, particularly oily fish. Two portions of fish a week (such as herrings, sardines, mackerel or salmon) is recommended. If you are pregnant, you must not exceed 2 portions a week and must avoid marlin, shark and swordfish.
Enjoy 4-5 portions of unsalted nuts, seeds and legumes (peas and beans) a week.
Exercise is a fantastic routine to include in your daily life. It is currently recommended that you partake in 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, 5 days a week. This could include brisk walking, running, swimming or cycling.
Total-body muscle strengthening exercises at least twice a week has been shown to be beneficial in optimising musculo- skeletal function, preventing the decline of cognitive function and maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.
During a consultation, we would be more than happy to discuss an eating and exercise plan with you in order to help you reach your mental and physical health goals.
The recommended alcohol intake for men and women is no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
Avoid binge drinking or consuming more than the recommended weekly allowance.
A unit is about ½ a pint of normal strength beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirits. A medium-sized glass of wine is about 2 units.