Heart Attack and Stroke
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the UK, It refers to the range of problems which affect the heart and blood vessels and can lead to a heart attack and stroke
A heart attack, otherwise known as Myocardial Infarction, results from the blockage of one of the arteries or its branches thereby restricting oxygen to the heart. If left untreated, the condition which typically lasts several hours results in the death of the deprived heart tissue. As a result, a heart attack occurs. Survivors of heart attacks not only have an increased risk of developing a subsequent attack, but also have an annual death rate which is five to six times higher than individuals who do not suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
A stroke, otherwise known as Ictus, is a leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death in the UK. Caused by the loss of blood flow to the brain, if left untreated, it can result in lasting neurological damage, impairment or loss of function in a part of the body.
The major causes of cardiovascular disease and the leading contributors to heart attack and stroke are:-
1. Atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of the arteries): Caused by a build-up of plaque (fat, cholesterol, calcium) in the walls of the arteries (atheroma), atherosclerosis limits the flow of blood to the organs. When affecting the heart, it is known as Coronary Heart Disease or Coronary Artery Disease. This means that the plaque narrows the coronary arteries restricting the blood supply to the heart. Symptoms of atherosclerosis typically include chest pain or discomfort, but the majority of individuals have no symptoms at all resulting in a diagnosis after the occurrence of a heart attack or stroke.
2. Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as the silent killer as it rarely has noticeable symptoms. If left untreated, hypertension can result in organ damage. Common symptoms include chest pain, sleep disorders, fatigue and headaches. This condition most commonly affects individuals of Asian, African or Caribbean descent.
3. Thrombosis: Resulting from a blood clot formed inside a blood vessel, thrombosis is a potentially fatal condition which prevents the normal flow of blood. This condition becomes increasingly dangerous if the clot dislodges making its way to the heart and lungs. Symptoms of thrombosis typically include painful swelling of the lower limbs, cramping, fatigue or chest pain.
4. Diabetes: The risk of developing a cardiovascular disease greatly increases in those with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes. This is due to the high levels of glucose in the blood which can result in the development of plaque in the arteries (atheroma) and subsequently atherosclerosis.
5. Obesity: An increase in fat, particularly around the abdominal region affects the body’s natural metabolic rate. Obesity or being overweight is not merely a cosmetic condition, but can lead to a build-up of plaque within the arteries (atherosclerosis), an increase in the force of blood (hypertension) or an increase in the blood glucose levels (diabetes). All of which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Prevention starts with CardioGen®
With Cardiovascular Disease being the leading cause of death and adult disability in the UK, GHC GENETICS UK has developed the single, most comprehensive form of analyzing an individual’s risk of developing a cardiovascular disease – CardioGen®.
Heart attacks and strokes are highly preventable conditions. Prevention begins with knowledge of risk, receiving appropriate care and enacting proper lifestyle changes. The CardioGen® test analyses the genes for mutations relating to:-
The CardioGen® Test Report contains information on whether or not your genotype variant increases or decreases your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease through the detection of a mutation in these genes. The results provided will help both you and your physician better understand your risk and provide you with targeted preventative measures to further reduce or prevent the occurrence of the disease.
CardioGen® is recommended for people who:-
- Are pregnant or recently gave birth
- Take hormonal contraceptives
- Have a relative with hypertension or are at risk of hypertension
- Are of Asian, African or Caribbean descent
- Regularly consume alcohol or caffeinated drinks
- Do not exercise
- Undergo long distance travel (plane and or car)
- Have diabetes
* The presence of cardiovascular disease significantly impedes the body’s ability to effectively transport blood to the vital organs of the body. The brain, one of the most active tissues of the body, becomes severely affected if blood flow is impeded resulting in hypoxia – a reduction in oxygen received by the brain. The reduction of which results in a chain of events which culminates in the onset of Alzheimer’s.