Following on from our look at the main contributing factors to contracting CHD, read today’s instalment to find out more about medication versus management.

CHD management

Lifestyle changes form the basis of CHD management, but medication also has a place. In many cases, an underlying condition warrants treatment – for example, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors for hypertension, antidiabetic therapy for high glucose levels, or statins to lower cholesterol – but some drugs are more specific for CHD, including antiplatelet agents such as low dose aspirin and clopidogrel to thin the blood and reduce the risk of a heart attack, beta blockers to reduce the risk of angina, and nitrates to dilate blood vessels and relieve angina attacks.

Providing advice and support on how to take these medicines and why they are important when dispensing prescriptions is an invaluable service that pharmacists and their staff can offer.

For those who have gone through heart surgery or a heart attack, cardiac rehabilitation programmes can make a huge difference in restoring confidence and fitness levels.

Involving both education and exercise, these usually include gym sessions that have been designed by an instructor who understands the special needs of these patient groups with people on hand to monitor BP levels and assist patients as needed. More information can be found at

Cardiac support groups can be hugely beneficial for patients and their carers. Some meet weekly and have a busy schedule of activities, both formal and social, whereas others may only meet once a month but have a more structured format with specially invited speakers. The British Heart Foundation is a good point of reference when trying to find a local group:

In our final instalment of our weekly feature we will look at what patients should be aiming for when managing their health, come back tomorrow to find out more.