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Should I be worried about ischaemic heart disease?

Also known as coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, ischaemic heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. The symptoms vary widely and some patients have no idea they have it before it is diagnosed. It’s important to learn more about this condition and take proactive steps to prevent it. This is particularly true if heart disease runs in your family.

What is ischaemic heart disease?

According to the NHS1, ischaemic heart disease is the building up of fatty deposits in the arteries of your heart. Eventually, this can interrupt or block proper blood flow, which can lead to multiple complications and death.

Normally, blood pumped through the body returns to the heart through the superior and inferior vena cava. The blood enters the right atrium, the first of the heart’s four chambers. Then, it moves into the right ventricle and travels to the lungs for oxygen. Once back in the heart’s left atrium, the blood goes into the left ventricle and then the aorta to continue its journey through the body.

When someone has ischaemic heart disease, this crucial blood movement and supply is somehow blocked. The atheroma2, or fatty deposits, narrow blood vessels.

Ischaemic heart disease is the most common type of heart disease worldwide. According to the British Heart Foundation3, it was the single biggest killer of both men and women worldwide in 2019. In the UK, heart and circulatory conditions are currently cited in 1 of every 4 deaths. The figure is the same for the U.S4. — 1 in 4, or an estimated 659,000 people per year.

Who is at risk of ischaemic heart disease?

Certain people have a higher chance of developing coronary artery disease. Medical conditions and lifestyle factors5 that can tip the scale include:

  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • A family history of CAD (coronary heart disease)

There is no single pre-existing condition known to cause heart disease. Instead, experts now believe multiple factors6 work together. It’s also important to note that many of these factors are within our control. Today there is a much better understanding overall of heart disease, its risks, and symptoms.

Babylon takes care of your heart

There are a number of ways Babylon7 can help you to look out for and treat heart disease. We have a wide range of clinicians, including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Mental health professionals and dietitians (dependent on region)

You get access to digital consultations from the comfort of your own home. If you like your doctor, you can request to continue care with them as needed. And as always, you can use Babylon’s 24-hour artificial intelligence Symptom Checker for smart, fast triage and information.

“Our clinicians advise rest, plenty of fluids, a low-fat, low-salt and high fibre diet, regular exercise, stress awareness, and weight management,” says Babylon Clinical Digital Health Director Mark Perera. “It’s also important to take your medications as prescribed and get regular follow-ups for tests, including echocardiograms and angiograms.”

To learn more about our health checks for patients over 40, including screenings for heart disease, cholesterol, and diabetes, we recommend downloading the app.

Try Babylon today

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References

1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronary-heart-disease/

2. https://patient.info/heart-health/heart-disease

3. https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/contact-the-press-office/facts-and-figures

4. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

5. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5686931/

7. https://www.babylonhealth.com/en-gb/product

8. https://www.babylonhealth.com/en-gb/product/ask-babylon

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.