Cardiovascular diseases

Any risk of cardiovascular disease is identified by vascular medicine. This is one of the specialities of internal medicine, which looks at conditions of the blood vessels.

The risk of cardiovascular disease can be reduced by identifying any risk factors and treating them as necessary.

Risk factors of cardiovascular disease

The examination mainly focuses on what may be risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The following factors are taken into consideration:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Thrombosis
  • Hereditary factors
  • Diabetes.

Examination

To reach a diagnosis, the internist may carry out a number of different tests. There are a number of tests that can be used to rule out the possibility of cardiovascular abnormalities:

Ankle arm index
If you have a suspected narrowing of the artery in your leg, the doctor may assess this using the ankle-arm index. If the blood pressure in your leg is lower than in your arm, there is a risk of arterial narrowing.

24-hour blood pressure monitoring
24-hour blood pressure monitoring provides the doctor with a clear idea of your blood pressure over the course of the day, night and as you carry out your daily activities.

Exercise ECG
The doctor may advise an exercise electrocardiogram to detect any cardiac abnormalities. Electrodes are placed on your body to take readings of your heart and measure your blood pressure while you are exercising (usually on a treadmill).

Blood test
A sample of blood is taken from you and then analysed in the laboratory for any abnormalities. The results may show or exclude various pathologies. It is also possible to test for thyroid function via a blood test.

AGE reader
This instrument provides a cardiovascular risk prediction by measuring tissue accumulation in the blood vessels.

Treatment

The internist may prescribe medication for cardiovascular conditions. For example, to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. However, this greatly depends on the pathology and your symptoms. The treatment may also involve the provision of advice. For example, advice to take more physical exercise or make changes to your eating patterns. These changes can be made in consultation with a dietitian.

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