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Cardiovascular Health: Prevention Better Than Cure

Cardiovascular Health: Prevention Better Than CurePhoto from Unsplash

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As mentioned last month, here at Sloane Street Surgery we offer annual medical assessments for all our patients. It allows us to assess your overall health, talk about lifestyle, nutrition and discuss any concerns.

This month we are focusing on one of the most important systems in the body, the cardiovascular system (the heart). Even if you feel fit and well it’s good to think about prevention and we are always here to discuss heart health with you.

What do we mean by cardiovascular health?

The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and blood vessels. When we refer to cardiovascular health we are actually referring to heart disease. Around 6.4million people in the UK suffer from heart disease so it’s a very important part of a health check.

Some people are born with heart issues. However, many of these issues are acquired over time, accounting for almost a quarter of all deaths in the UK, which is why this topic is so important to us.

Many risk factors increase your chance of acquiring heart disease and the annual medical checks with us can address such risks. We discuss these in more detail below.

What are the most common heart diseases?

You might already be aware of the term “clogging of the arteries”. This is when there is a build-up of fatty deposits known as atherosclerosis which can go on to cause a blockage. This umbrella term is known as coronary artery disease.

As part of our assessment, we are looking for signs and symptoms of several other common diseases such as heart arrhythmias (e.g. atrial fibrillation); heart failure; heart valve concerns; undetected congenital heart disease or inherited genetic conditions.

We also worry about vascular dementia and stroke which are also associated with heart disease.

What are the risk factors?

We would love to work with you to look at your risk factors for heart disease in more detail and create a bespoke assessment.

Some risk factors you unfortunately cannot change, for example, your age, being male and family history.

However, you will be pleased to hear that many risk factors can be reduced and it is our role to make you aware of such risks. The key risk factors are associated with your lifestyle; smoking; high cholesterol; low levels of exercise; high alcohol and above average weight.

If you come to us for a medical, we will also be looking for other conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease, which are also risk factors.

What is the assessment comprised of?

We take a thorough history from you including discussing symptoms which you might be experiencing such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath or ankle swelling.

We will do a full examination including your blood pressure; heart rate; body mass index and ECG (electrocardiogram) to assess the electrical conductivity of the heart.

Lastly, we can do a detailed blood analysis looking at individual risk markers. These include assessing for diabetes and cholesterol (lipid profile), heart markers such as lipoproteins and apolipoproteins and your omega3/omega6 ratios are also important.

What else can we do for you?

If you would like a more extensive assessment, we work with cardiologists to work out what additional imaging might be best for you dependent on your lifestyle and choices.

If you want to have information regarding the whole structure of your heart including assessing all the valves, we would request an ultrasound scan of the heart known as an echocardiogram.

A CT angiogram is a very popular tool now being used to assess for narrowing or blocked coronary arteries as a result of the build-up of plaque within your heart.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to assess the function of the heart during physical activity on a treadmill and this is known as a stress test.

We will be discussing diet and lifestyle in the assessment; however, we would refer you for extra specialist support if needed.


Patients do find that their annual medical is a really reassuring time.  We enjoy discussing your health and lifestyle with you in order to minimise your risk of heart disease.

If you have any questions about your heart health or would like to arrange a medical, please book an appointment online here or call us on 0207 245 9333. For medical appointments, select the ’60 minute medical’ option when booking online.

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