Around 7 million people in the UK are affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. It is commonly associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.
Heart disease and stroke are the most common forms of CVD. There is a lot that can be done to raise the awareness CVD and measures which will help prevent or limit the impact of it. Nursing staff in many areas of practice are key to helping to improve public understanding and in supporting the prevention of CVD.
The NHS RightCare Cardiovascular Disease Prevention pathway identifies six high-risk conditions that are major causes of CVD:
- high cholesterol
- atrial fibrillation
- chronic kidney disease
- pre diabetes
In response to the increasing prevalence of CVD, the All Our Health campaign advocates that all health care professionals maximise their impact on prevention of avoidable illness, health protection and promotion of wellbeing.
As CVD is the greatest contributor to mortality in the UK, healthcare professionals can make every contact count to encourage behaviour change to reduce the risk, with focus on poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking and excess alcohol.
Furthermore, the NHS Right Care programme aims to improve people’s health and outcomes and reduce health inequalities. It endeavours to ensure that the right person has the right care, in the right place, at the right time, making the best use of available resources. The RCN advocates that nurses support these aims by offering timely advice and information relating to lifestyle behaviours.