Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the biggest killer in the UK accounting for 4 out of every 10 deaths. In CHD, the blood vessels called arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients become narrowed by fatty deposits by a process called atherosclerosis. This causes a restriction in the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, and causes the symptom of chest pain. If you have a feeling of heaviness, tightness or pain in the middle of your chest that may extend to your arms, neck, jaw, face, back or abdomen, you require urgent medical assessment. If this discomfort does not settle after 5-10 minutes, you should call 999.
There are several things that put you at higher risk of having CHD, but there are also lots of things that you can do to reduce your risk. These include:
- Stopping smoking – If you would like help with this, please let us know as we can help you do this.
- Eating a healthy low fat diet and taking regular exercise at least three times a week.
- Keeping your weight within a normal level.
- Drinking alcohol within the recommended limits that is a maximum of 21 units of alcohol per week for men, and no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for women. Please note that 1 unit of alcohol is equivalent to 1 small spirit, half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
If you have confirmed CHD, you will be invited by letter for annual review with the Practice Nurse. At this check, the practice Nurse will:
- Discuss your symptoms and the impact your symptoms are having on you
- Review your medications, and any side effects that you have
- Check your weight, height and blood pressure
- Take blood samples to check for your kidney function, blood count, cholesterol level and sugar level
- Address any risk factors for CHD outlined above, and help you reduce these
- Provide help with stopping smoking if applicable
- Offer you the annual Flu vaccine
- Perform a screening test for depression as some patients with CHD develop low mood