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Understanding primary prevention of cardiovascular disease

02 July 2021
8 min read
Volume 32 · Issue 7


Cardiovascular disease causes significant morbidity and mortality across the UK. Beverley Bostock looks at the role practice nurses can play in the primary prevention of this condition

Nurses working in general practice play an important role in identifying those at risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and implementing person-focused risk reduction strategies. The NHS Health Check programme was designed to identify people between the age of 40 and 74 years with risk factors for CVD. Nurses in general practice have a key role to play in encouraging people to attend Health Checks and helping people to understand the potential benefits of CVD risk assessment and reduction strategies. Lifestyle interventions and pharmacological management allow modifiable risk factors to be managed in an evidence-based and person-focused way.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the cause of significant morbidity and mortality across the UK and is also linked to premature mortality. Nurses working in general practice play an important role in identifying those at risk of developing CVD and implementing person-focused risk reduction strategies. The NHS Health Check programme was introduced in 2009 to facilitate the early identification of people at high risk of CVD so that appropriate advice could be given, and action taken to reduce future cardiovascular events (Waterall et al, 2015). In 2019, Public Health England set out its CVD ambitions, and identified the importance of detecting atrial fibrillation (AF), hypertension and dyslipidaemia, and fine tuning the management of these risk factors to reduce CV events (Waterall, 2019). In this article, we discuss why CVD risk reduction is so important and demonstrate how to carry out a risk assessment and support people to address their risk factors. By the end of this article, you should have a greater awareness of:

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