Cardiovascular diseases are endemic in Finland. Most common cardiovascular diseases include coronary artery disease, heart failure and cerebrovascular diseases.
Some of these conditions require treatment before something significant or catastrophic occurs. Most patients with a cardiovascular disease also require continuing medication therapy. Some heart valve diseases only require monitoring the patient’s condition and any possible symptoms. Such diseases also include aortic aneurysm. People cannot adjust their lifestyles to treat aneurysms or valve diseases, but healthy ways of life can support the treatment of other cardiovascular diseases and prevent the onset of such diseases.
Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases
Risk groups for cardiovascular diseases include men over 55 and women over 65. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Finland. The majority of people die of coronary artery disease. According to Statistics Finland, coronary artery disease was the cause of death in 20% of deaths in 2014, killing more than 10,000 people.
10% of the deceased were of working age. The median average age of the deceased men and women was 65 and 73, respectively. Men are slightly more likely to be diagnosed with coronary artery disease than women. The mortality rate of coronary artery disease has decreased over the past 40 years.
What are the causes of cardiovascular diseases?
Risk factors for cardiovascular diseases include
• high blood pressure
• high cholesterol
• excessive use of alcohol
• lack of exercise
• unhealthy diet, particularly salts and saturated fats
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease than women because, in general, women live healthier lives than men. Additionally, female hormones prevent the onset of these diseases.
The most significant risk and protective factor is genetics. If a lot of your relatives have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease at a relatively early age, you should focus on other risk factors more closely. Healthy ways of life are always beneficial.
How are cardiovascular diseases examined and treated?
The heart is examined with the following methods
• Aortic imaging
• Gene tests
• Laboratory examination of metabolic syndrome
• Contrast imaging techniques
• Heart MRI(performed at the imaging unit)
• Hertta cardiac risk screening test
• Blood pressure & heart laboratory test package (performed in a laboratory)
• Cardiac stress ECG or echocardiography (performed in a laboratory)
• Long-term ECG monitoring (performed in a laboratory)
• Coronary CT angiography, CT scan(performed at the imaging unit)
If cardiovascular diseases are common among your relatives, it is advisable to consider checking the structure of your heart with an ultrasound examination and examining the possible onset of coronary artery disease with coronary CT angiography, for example. The treatment of these diseases is based on individual symptoms and the risk of cardiovascular events.
Heart symptoms – where to get help?
Ask for help if you experience heart symptoms such as chest pain under stress or at rest, a sensation of pressure on chest, shortness of breath or inexplicable decrease in performance.
A variety of cardiovascular examinations are performed at the Mehiläinen Heart Clinic in Töölö, Helsinki. Book an appointment at the Heart Clinic by calling +358 (0)10 414 4220 (0,0835 €/call + 0,1669 €/min) (Mon–Thu between 12 noon and 3 p.m.) Appointments for cardiovascular examinations or procedures can be booked by calling this number. ECG and heart ultrasound examinations can be booked by calling the general customer service at +358 (0)10 414 00 (0,084 €/min).
The physicians of the Heart Clinic are among the most experienced cardiologists in Finland. The Heart Clinic offers the services of cardiologist Tapio Aalto, D.Med.Sc., cardiologist Kaj Ekström and cardiologist Tomi Kaukonen.