The practice currently runs regular group consultations regarding Cardiovascular Risk. Patients deemed to be of high risk will be invited to a group consultation by letter.
What is Cardiovascular Risk (QRisk)?
The QRisk tool is used to calculate your cardiovascular risk over the next 10 years.
The QRisk calculator takes into account many factors including age, sex, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking status and pre-existing conditions to calculate a percentage QRisk.
This percentage is your theoretical risk of having a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, over the next 10 years.
So if your QRisk was 20% that means you have a 1 in 5 chance of having a stroke or heart attack over the next 10 years or, to put it another way, out of 100 people 20 would have a stroke or heart attack over the next 10 years (and 80 patients would not).
Recent national NICE guidelines have suggested that anyone with a QRisk of greater than 10% should be offered lifestyle advice to lower their risk and that they should consider treatment with a drug called a statin.
By making changes to your lifestyle you can reduce your cardiovascular risk. This might involve changes to:
- Diet – eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and eating less saturated and trans fats
- Exercise – taking more regular exercise
- Weight – lose weight to maintain a healthy weight and body mass index
- Alcohol – reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink to within safe daily and weekly limits
- Smoking – stop smoking
- We are able to advice on lifestyle changes and also further information is available from NHS choices
Drug treatment with statins (atorvastatin or simvastatin) can reduce the cardiovascular risk and this is backed up by evidence from clinical trials.
We can discuss with you in more detail the benefits and risks of taking statins.
The dose is usually one tablet daily taken at night for the rest of your life.
The most well established side effects of statins are their effects on muscles and on liver enzymes.
Some patients do complain of muscle aches and pains and muscle weakness. If you were to experience muscle problems then we would stop the drug and discuss alternative options with you.
We would also monitor your liver function before treatment and regularly while you are taking statins.
Less well-known and rare side effects of statins include stomach upset, nausea and constipation or diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, depression, sleep disturbances, memory loss and sexual dysfunction. Some patients do experience these side effects when they first start taking a statin but these usually settle within a week or two and many people can take them without any side effects at all.
If you are experiencing any side effects which could be related to the statin please contact the surgery.