In the second instalment of our CHD feature week learn how you can play a role in the prevention of the UK’s biggest killer.
Prevention is better than cure
There are many factors that contribute to the development of CHD. Some are non-modifiable, such as having a family history of the condition, but many are controllable to a certain degree and this is where pharmacists and their staff have a significant role to play:
- Hypertension is the single most important risk factor for stroke, as well as being a significant consideration in CHD as a whole. As the condition is usually symptom-free, the only way to detect there is an issue is to conduct blood pressure (BP) checks in those who are more likely to have high BP (individuals with a family history or from an African-Caribbean or South Asian background, and older people) and regularly monitor patients who have been diagnosed with and treated for the condition. Therapy is usually lifelong, yet with no tangible benefits, adherence can be a problem. The Know Your Numbers campaign is a good way of raising awareness, and pharmacies can access resources at http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/kyn/Home
- Diabetes doubles the risk of CHD, though this falls if blood glucose levels are regulated, so early diagnosis and adherence with treatment are essential. Information and advice provided by the charity Diabetes UK are a useful educational tool: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Monitoring/
- Hyperlipidaemia is strongly linked to CHD. If lifestyle factors have failed to bring cholesterol levels under control, lipid lowering medication is usually prescribed. The most common is a statin, but, like all long-term medication for conditions that are, on the whole, asymptomatic, adherence can be a problem and support and encouragement may be needed to keep patients motivated to take their tablets.
Join us tomorrow to for a comprehensive look at the lifestyle factors which affect CHD and find out what advice you should be giving to patients.