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Cardiovascular disease - Risk modification

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Cardiovascular disease risk modification 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of mortality in the UK accounting for around 200,000 deaths each year, and although mortality is decreasing, morbidity appears to be fairly constant with approximately 3 million people living with cardiovascular problems. CVD covers the broad category of diseases that affect the heart and circulatory system, causing coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, renal and cognitive impairment.

It is clearly established that risk factor modification leads to a reduction in coronary heart disease mortality. These prevention measures should span across the generations from young adults to old age. The practice nurse is therefore ideally placed to identify risk factors within their patients and work with them to make changes, thereby reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Aims and objectives

On completion of this resource, you should have an understanding of:

  • The background to evidence for risk factor modification
  • The process of atheroma formation within the vessel walls
  • Which risk factors are classed as modifiable, and their significance
  • Which risk factors are classed as non modifiable, and their significance in increasing an individual’s risk of CVD
  • How you can bring about behaviour change

Recommended reading 

JBS 2 Guidelines. Heart 2005:91:v1-52

European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice. European heart Journal 2012: 33, 1635-1701

Yusuf S, et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries - INTERHEART study. Lancet 2004;364:937-52

Further education and training

Please follow the links below to relevant Education for Health courses. 

Cardiovascular disease risk assessment

Tackling CVD risk 

Date of preparation: January 2014

Review date: January 2015