It is important that people living with HIV are aware of their heart health for a number of reasons.
People living with HIV are more likely to smoke compared to HIV negative people and smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked.
Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health. When you are ready, discuss your lifestyle with your healthcare team and work together to identify where improvements can be made.
Over time, the HIV virus itself can increase your risk of heart disease. Talk to your healthcare team about regularly checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as your risk for diabetes.
Some of the HIV medications used to treat HIV are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It’s important to know if you’re on the best treatment for you; ask your health care team what your options are.
Heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart isn't able to work properly, which can be due to a number of reasons. Common conditions include:
Some causes of heart disease are genetic but lifestyle factors can make heart disease more likely, these include:
Other factors that can put your heart under increased pressure include:
As we get older, the risk of heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) increases, regardless of HIV status but if you are living with HIV you may be more likely to develop heart disease compared to someone who does not have HIV. There are a number of reasons for this, including the damage the virus itself causes your body, as well as lifestyle and treatment choices you can make.
The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to manage your risks.
There are a number of regular assessments your healthcare team can do to identify your risks, these include:
If you've been diagnosed with heart disease, there are things you can do to increase your chances of having a healthier heart:
There are many different medicines used to treat heart disease and they can work in different ways. These include: