Assessing cardiovascular risk in patients with severe mental illness
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Assessing cardiovascular risk in patients with severe mental illness

Sheila Hardy Nurse consultant, Park Avenue Medical Centre, Northampton, University of Northampton and PhD student, University of East Anglia, Norwich
Richard Gray Professor of research, university director, Research degree programmes and honorary nurse consultant, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term mainly used to describe disorders affecting the heart and/or the arteries and veins that are associated with atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty deposits and debris inside blood vessels). CVDs, such as coronary heart disease and peripheral arterial disease, are long-term conditions, but acute events such as myocardial infarction can occur suddenly when a vessel supplying blood to the heart or brain becomes blocked or ruptures. Lifestyle factors and the side effects of antipsychotic medication result in a high incidence of CVD in people with severe mental illness. This article explores how nurses in primary and secondary care can identify CVD risk factors and help patients reduce these risks.

Nursing Standard. 26, 45,41-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2012.07.26.45.41.c9209

Correspondence

shardy1@nhs.net

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review