Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We often hear people say they have “poor circulation”. There are many different causes of poor circulation and many conditions that can lead to poor circulation. Symptoms of these conditions can include “cold hands”, pins and needles in hands and feet, numbness, varicose veins, leg cramps, a heavy feeling in the limbs and swollen ankles. Serious and even life threatening conditions that can occur include leg ulcers, gangrene, kidney failure and brain aneurisms. We have 100,000 miles of blood vessels in a complex network throughout our body.
Poor circulation is medically referred to as Vascular Disease. Vascular Disease includes any condition that affects your circulatory system including diseases of arteries, veins and lymph vessels as well as blood disorders that affect circulation. These include Peripheral Artery Disease, Renal Artery Disease, Varicose Veins, Venous Blood Clots, Aneurysm, Raynaud’s Disease, Peripheral Venous Disease and Erectile Dysfunction. Check www.whelehans.ie for more information on these articles or you can ask a Whelehans member of staff for a free copy of an article on any of these conditions.
Atherosclerosis occurs when arteries become clogged up by fatty substances, such as cholesterol. These substances are called plaques or atheromas. This build up of plaque is the root cause of various vascular diseases such as varicose veins, erectile dysfunction and Raynauds Disease. It also causes cardiovascular conditions such as angina, heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
Certain factors increase the risk of atherosclerosis. These are mainly lifestyle related and include:
- smoking (the single biggest cause of most vascular diseases)
- a high-fat diet
- a lack of exercise
- being overweight or obese
- having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- having high blood pressure (hypertension)
- having high cholesterol
Over the course of years and decades, plaque build up narrows the arteries and makes them stiffer. This makes it harder for blood to flow through them. Clots may form in these narrowed arteries and block blood flow.
This can be achieved by making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet, increasing exercise, stopping smoking. There are several medications available to treat many of the underlying causes of blood vessel narrowing and hardening, such as a high cholesterol level and high blood pressure. Antiplatelet medication such as aspirin thins blood so helps prevent clots. In some cases surgery may be required to widen or bypass a section of a blocked or narrowed artery. I will discuss atherosclerosis in more details in next week’s Westmeath Examiner
How old is your heart?
Our arteries age due to their elasticity. Unfortunately, for some people due to many reasons their arteries may age prematurely. This may be due to genetic reasons or lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, excess alcohol intake, poor diet and obesity. BPro Cardio Screen measures cardio pulse wave which determines the health of your arteries for your age based on their elasticity. In simple terms, it measures the “age of our heart”.
What is our BPro Cardio Screen Service?
Whelehans now has a cardiovascular health check called BPro Cardio Screen. This test measures the stiffness of your arteries to help identify risk of blockages and your risk of cardiovascular disease and circulation problems. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is completely pain free. A pulse wave reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now only €35 (was €50); it only takes about 15 minutes to get checked. Our next clinic is Thursday February 25th from 9am to 5pm. Book by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591.
Note: BPro Cardio Screen is not meant as a substitute for proper medical assessment with your doctor
This article is shortened to fit within Newspaper space limits. More detailed information and leaflets is available in Whelehans