Cardiovascular diseases are affecting more and more people; therefore, we prepared a short summary of the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the complications, and prevention measures.
Summary of the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Prelevance and risk factors
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), are according to the World Health Organization: ”the number 1 cause of death globally.” In 2016, over 17.9 million people died from CVDs, 85 % of them due to heart attack and stroke. Significant risks associated with heart diseases are genetic predisposition, gender, ethnicity, advancing age, behavioral factors and the presence of other chronic diseases, like diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Among the behavioral factors are smoking, drinking, unhealthy diet and lack of enough physical activity.
The cardiovascular conditions can result in multiple complications, like heart failure, heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, aneurysm, and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
Heart failure is the most common complication of heart disease and it occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Heart attack is caused by a blood clot obstructing the blood flow to the heart, while stroke is a consequence of blood flow obstruction to the brain. Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function. Aneurysm, a budge in the wall of the artery, can occur anywhere in the body.
Peripheral Artery Diseases (PAD), specifically LEAD (Lower Extremity Artery Disease) causes obstruction of blood flow to extremities, usually legs, which manifests most notably in leg pain when walking. PAD can be present in a patient undetected for a long time – this could be prevented by regular checkups by the primary healthcare providers.
Cardiovascular conditions do not affect patients only physically but also have psychological effects that do not affect only patients but have an impact on families, friends, and communities. Sarah Brealey of British Heart Foundation reported in Heart Matter magazine on the results of the survey of 2,777 readers with heart conditions. The survey revealed that 68 % of readers were affected mentally, emotionally or psychologically. Most common symptoms were anxiety, feeling low, depression or tearfulness. Almost half felt scared, while more than one third felt other people didn’t understand how the condition affected them.
Cardiovascular risk assessment – ABI measurement
According to the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology Guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular patients require a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment. Both guidelines recommend Ankle-Brachial index (ABI) measurement as the first step to discover LEAD early and lower the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases. Cardiologists are mostly concerned with early diagnosis in patients with coronary heart disease and hypertension.
ABI test should be performed regularly at least once a year by general practitioners as well as cardiologists because, according to studies, 40 – 60 % of patients with PAD also have coronary artery disease or cerebral artery disease. For timely detection of blocked arteries, experts recommend automated testing with MESI ABPI MD because it makes the process significantly faster and simpler in comparison with the traditional Doppler test.
The test takes about 1 minute, providing reliable result based on simultaneous blood pressure readings in an arm and both legs. MESI ABPI MD is based on the PADsense™ algorithm: If the patient has severe PAD, there is no presence of a pulse in the ankle or the pulse is very weak, which means the ABI cannot be reliably calculated. Instead, the device will analyse the pulse waveform and indicate the presence of severe disease with the PAD symbol.
Considering the high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and their effect, we ask you: Do you want to achieve better outcomes for cardiology patients?
- 2016 AHA/ACC Guideline on the Management of patients with lower extremity peripheral disease
- 2017 ESC guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of peripheral arterial disease
- TASC II inter-society consensus for the management of PAD
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Learn how to perform an Ankle-Brachial Index measurement with the ABPI MD and how to correctly fold its cuffs.