What you need to know about cardiovascular disease

Written by: Dr Digoarachi S Bulugahapitiya
Published: | Updated: 17/11/2023
Edited by: Jay Staniland

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that can result in a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack. It is usually linked to a higher risk of blood clots and the build-up of fat in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest causes of death and of disability in the UK, but by living healthily it is often preventable.


In this article below, esteemed consultant cardiologist, Dr Digoarachi S Bulugahapitiya, explains the condition in more detail, including the causes of cardiovascular disease and how it can be avoided.



What are the different types of cardiovascular disease?


There are a number of different types of cardiovascular disease, but the four big ones are as follows:



  • Strokes and transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs): When blood ceases to flow to the brain, damage or even death can follow. A TIA, or mini-stroke, is when the flow of blood to the brain is only interrupted briefly.



  • Aortic disease: Aortic diseases are a variety of diseases that affect the aorta, the biggest blood vessel in the body. Aortic aneurysm, one of the most typical aortic diseases, occurs when the aorta weakens and protrudes outwards.


What causes cardiovascular disease?


There are any number of risk factors that can cause cardiovascular disease. Of course, the more risk factors a person might have, the higher the chances of cardiovascular disease.


The biggest causes of cardiovascular disease are:


People over the age of 40 are invited by the NHS to undergo a cardiovascular disease check-up every five years.


How can cardiovascular disease be prevented?


Lifestyle is a key factor when it comes to cardiovascular disease prevention. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet greatly improves the health of the heart.


  1. Cutting down on salt, sugar, and saturated fat levels, and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will greatly decrease the risk factors of developing cardiovascular disease.
  2. 150 minutes of gentle aerobic activity is advised each week. As an individual gets fitter, exercise intensity can be gradually increased.
  3. Drinking more than 14 alcohol units a week is not recommendable.
  4. Smokers should aim to quit. Their bodies will thank them.
  5. It is also advisable to keep a healthy weight and keep a body mass index (BMI) below 25.
  6. For people with a very high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, medication may be needed.



To schedule an appointment with Dr Digoarachi S Bulugahapitiya, visit his Top Doctors profile today. 

By Dr Digoarachi S Bulugahapitiya

Dr Digoarachi S Bulugahapitiya is a leading consultant cardiologist based in Bingley, Bradford, who specialises in cardiac imaging, heart failure and cardiac risk stratification alongside echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT. He privately practises at the Yorkshire Clinic and his NHS base is Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Dr Bulugahapitiya is highly qualified. He has a MB ChB from Leeds Medical School, a postgraduate diploma in Clinical Education from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and and FRCP (London). Dr Bulugahapitiya, who is fully registered as a cardiology and general internal medicine specialist, also has an MRCP and an FRCP (Glasgow).

Dr Bulugahapitiya, who is clinical lead for heart failure services at his NHS base, has developed an in-hospital and community management services for heart failure patients. He is also highly experienced in medicolegal work and is a local principal investigator (PI) and co-investigator for various multi-centre trials. 

Further to his clinical achievements he's a leading name in teaching, education and research. He is a personal tutor at University of Leeds Medical School, a supervisor for junior doctors and provides clinical and educational supervision for non-training departmental fellows. He has been an examiner, is a member of the Royal College off Physicians mentorship program and is a course organiser and faculty member for the Meduc8 group. Furthermore Dr Bulugahapitiya organises and leads a Level 1 Nuclear Cardiology Training Course. 

Dr Bulugahapitiya's research has been published in various peer reviewed journals and presented at national and international seminars and events. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians Research Panel.  He's a member of various professional organisations. These include the British Medical Association, the British Society Of Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology. He's also a member of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, the Society of Cardiac CT and is the founding member of the Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology.

Furthermore, he is a member of the Irish Cardiac Society, the ESC Council on Hypertension, the European Association of Heart Failure and the Federation of Forensic and Expert Witnesses. He's also a member of the Association for Acute CardioVascular Care and the European Association of Preventive Cardiology. 

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