19 March, 2019
Do you know what cardiovascular risk is? I’ll explain…
Cardiovascular risk is the probability that a person or group of people can have a cardiovascular event within a certain period of time. In this definition there are several elements that must be explained: the concepts of “risk” and “probability”, what we mean by “group of people”, what is a “cardiovascular event”, what does it mean and what importance does “time” have, and how cardiovascular “prevention” is performed. Let’s take a look…
1. CARDIOVASCULAR RISK AND PROBABILITY: THE UNCERTAINTY OF CHRONIC DISEASES
When we talk about a risk we do not refer to a certainty. In chronic diseases or conditions (such as cardiovascular diseases) we work with probabilities, which will be higher or lower depending on the type of disease or the cardiovascular risk factors that the person or group of people have.
2. CARDIOVASCULAR RISK OF THE POPULATION, OF THE GROUP, OF THE PERSON
In general, cardiovascular risk assessment is performed to try to predict (and avoid) the probability of certain cardiovascular events occurring in a population. However, and more so in the era of personalised medicine, more and more people need and seek to know their personalised and individual cardiovascular risk, or at least that of people very similar to them (e.g. that of people who have diabetes).
“More and more people need and seek to know THEIR OWN personalised and individual cardiovascular risk”
3. CARDIOVASCULAR EVENT: BAD NEWS THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING
More than 90% of cardiovascular events or diseases are produced by the hardening of the arteries and the formation in them of atheromatous plaques: atherosclerosis. These plaques can generate acute cardiovascular events (such as infarction or angina pectoris, or stroke or cerebral infarction), or chronic cardiovascular events, such as chronic angina pectoris, chronic lower limb ischaemia, some types of dementia, kidney failure or certain erection problems.
“More than 90% of cardiovascular events or diseases are caused by atherosclerosis”
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4. Time in cardiovascular risk: ¿The chronicle of an announced event?
The time the person who has been or is exposed to the cardiovascular risk factors is important: it’s needed time to develop an arteriosclerosis. “It was clear”, says people. The risk of having a cardiovascular event increases with the age, in special since 50 years in male and 55 in woman.
5. Avoiding a cardiovascular event is possible
Don’t smoke, reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed, start to do physical activity, lose some kilogram if you are overweight, try to follow a meditarrean diet. You also need a personal and global evaluation of the cardiovascular risk to control in an integral way your cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, colesterol, weight, hypertension, etc). In some cases, there will be needed some laboratory test or some complementary images (ecography, scanner, etc.) to give you a better counsil and to make you know and understand better your risk and how to reduce it.