Cardiovascular disease comprises mainly heart disease and strokes.
Our nurses have a very important role of carrying out “risk assessments” on your own risk of developing one of these conditions. This usually involves taking your blood pressure, weight, height, girth measurement and then blood tests for cholesterol and diabetes. The computer programme will then compute your individual risk for these diseases.
The most common risk factors for you will be:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet and obesity
- A strong family history of CVD.
We will have in place a plan to put all of our patients over certain ages, through a risk assessment and will then be able to identify if you have a high risk, and put in place a plan to reduce it.
There are very good reasons for assessing your Cardiovascular risk as the following statistics indicate.
- About 40% of all deaths in New Zealand are due to cardiovascular disease… the highest group
- In New Zealand about 5,000 people a year die early from smoking
- One in five new Zealanders smoke
- Nearly 50% of New Zealanders are overweight
- Women are not exempt. Over 5,000 women a year die from CVD; that’s about seven times more than die of breast cancer.
So how can we help you to reduce your risk? Our nurses are trained to advise you on any medications that might be necessary to reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol or any diabetes if discovered. They can refer you for expert dietary and exercise advice, and can put in place smoking cessation programmes for you.
One of the problems is that people with a high cardiovascular risk usually feel very well and are unaware of the chance of an early heart attack or stroke, so this type of “preventative” care will be an important feature of patient care at the New Lynn Integrated Family health Centre. We will do what we can to encourage you to have a long, productive healthy life.