Cardiovascular disease (CVD) encompasses all heart and circulatory diseases including stroke, coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack and vascular dementia. CVD is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK but is largely preventable through healthy lifestyle choices and detection and management of risk factors such as hypertension (high blood pressure), atrial fibrillation (AF) and high cholesterol. Cardiovascular disease has a strong association with health inequalities with ethnic minority groups being more at risk. There is significant variation in outcomes with those in the most deprived 10% of the population being almost twice as likely to die from CVD than those in the least deprived 10%. People with severe mental illness have an 85% higher risk of dying from CVD than the general population.
Cardiovascular disease prevention is a priority area within the NHS Long Term Plan which sets out a clear ambition to prevent 150,000 strokes, heart attacks and dementia cases over the next ten years. Targeted CVD prevention initiatives directly reduce health inequalities and are highly cost effective in preventing cardiovascular events. The Oxford AHSN CVD prevention programme is aligned to the NHS Long Term Plan ambitions and focuses on improved detection and management of three significant risk factors – AF, hypertension and high cholesterol.