This month the Synergy Vision team were in Lisbon for the 53rd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Diabetes affects an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK, and 1 million of these are unaware of their condition. Diabetes is associated with many complications, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, it’s not just diabetics who are at risk of CVD – there are 17.3 million deaths a year from the condition, and this is expected to rise to 23 million by 2030.

 CVD refers to conditions of the heart and blood vessels. It usually results from a build-up of fatty deposit in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, causing damage to the vessels and increasing the risk of a blood clot. This may lead to the heart being starved of oxygen and chest pain (angina). When a blood vessel becomes blocked enough to stop blood flow to the heart, the lack of oxygen causes damage to the heart muscle, and this is known as myocardial infarction or heart attack. Interruption of blood flow to the brain, resulting from a blood clot or blood vessel rupture, is known as stroke.

Friday 29 September is World Heart Day. The aim is to raise awareness of CVD and encourage the world to take action to improve their heart health. CVD is currently the number one cause of death in the world today and affects men, woman and children. The biggest risk factors for CVD are a diet high in sugar, saturated fat and salt, and low in fruit and veg, as well as physical inactivity, smoking and a high blood pressure. However, there are many small changes that can be made to mitigate the risk factors and improve heart health, you can find some tips over on the World Heart Federation wesbite.