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World Heart Day 2016: raising awareness of cardiovascular diseases

Posted: 29/09/2016

World Heart Day is on 29 September and Penningtons Manches is supporting the World Heart Federation to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD).

CVD continues to be the leading cause of death and disability in the world today and can arise from:

  • any disease of the heart
  • vascular disease of the brain
  • disease of the blood vessel. 

The most prevalent cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease - which can result in a heart attack - and cerebrovascular disease - which can result in a stroke. Controlling key risk factors such as diet, physical activity, tobacco use, and blood pressure may reduce the risk of CVD.

Heart attack warning signs

While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. People affected are often uncertain about their symptoms and delay seeking medical advice.

The symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest discomfort - most heart attacks involve discomfort in the centre of the chest which lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. 

Heart attacks often manifest themselves differently in women than in men. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Stroke warning signs

A stroke is a medical emergency. If any of these symptoms appear, medical attention must be sought urgently:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Problems with walking, dizziness, loss of balance or co-ordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. 

Rebecca Morgan, a clinical negligence lawyer, comments: “Our team at Penningtons Manches often deals with claims involving CVD and we have a specialist team of solicitors with the specific knowledge and expertise to help clients who have suffered as a result of failures in care relating to CVD, which sadly, can often have disastrous consequences. 

“CVD causes more deaths each year than cancer, yet the general public are often more aware of signs and symptoms of cancer than they are of CVD. But the good news is that much CVD can be prevented. According to the World Heart Federation, by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and poor physical activity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.

“It is important to raise awareness of healthy lifestyle choices as these give the best chance of avoiding such illness but it is equally important to ensure that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of CVD so that they seek medical assistance as soon as possible.”

Celebrate World Heart Day on 29 September and shine a spotlight on your healthy heart choices by tweeting a 'Healthy Heart Selfie' to @worldheartfed.

For more information on cardiology related conditions and/or pursuing a legal claim for the management of such conditions, please click here.

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