The Cardiovascular Disease module asks about any heart or circulatory conditions including any conditions which can be controlled with medication. It includes a variety of conditions such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, low/high blood pressure, high cholesterol, haemorrhoids and varicose veins.
In the NHS, publications and data refer to heart, stroke and vascular disease which comprises people who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had any of a range of circulatory conditions comprising:
- Ischaemic heart diseases (angina, heart attack and other ischaemic heart diseases)
- Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases)
- Heart failure
- Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries
and that their condition was current and long-term; that is, their condition was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.
Persons who reported having ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and heart failure that were not current and long term at the time of interview are also included.
For data collection and output purposes, heart and circulatory conditions we defined broadly as a group of related conditions.
Information was obtained for all persons in the NHS (with certain questions only asked of specific groups, as identified below).
Respondents were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had any heart or circulatory conditions, including any conditions which can be controlled with medication. A prompt card showing examples of conditions was provided to respondents. The following predefined condition categories were included on the questionnaire, with provision for interviewers to record three additional conditions if required:
i.e. 4 in total:
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Stroke (including after effects of stroke)
- Transient ischaemic attack (TIA, 'mini stroke')
- High blood pressure / hypertension
- Low blood pressure / hypotension
- Hardening of the arteries/atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis
- Fluid problems / fluid retention / oedema
- High cholesterol
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats/tachycardia/palpitations
- Heart murmur / heart valve disorder
- Varicose veins
- Other (up to three conditions could be recorded).
Very limited information is available for those conditions recorded in the 'other specify' category.
Respondents who had ever been told they had any heart or circulatory conditions were asked:
- Whether they currently had any heart or circulatory conditions, including conditions currently controlled by medications, and the names of these.
- Whether any of these conditions had lasted, or were expected to last, for six months or more, and which ones.
The list of predefined conditions was again used for these questions, and any 'other' responses identified in the initial question.
The following age-specific questions were also asked:
- All respondents aged 45 years or over, and those aged 18 to 44 years with a current heart or circulatory condition, were asked whether their cholesterol level had been checked in the last 5 years, and if so, whether it had been checked in the last 12 months.
- Respondents aged 18 years or over were asked whether their blood pressure had been checked in the last two years, and if so, and they had a current heart or circulatory condition, whether it had been checked in the last 12 months. Those who had it checked in the last 12 months were also asked who their blood pressure is usually checked by (GP, specialist, other health professional) and whether they had tested their own blood pressure in the last 12 months.
- Respondents aged 18 years or over with a current heart or circulatory condition were also asked whether they took any medication, on a daily basis, for their heart or circulatory conditions.
The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf / Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.
Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
- As this is a household based survey, people with heart or circulatory conditions who were resident in hospitals, nursing or convalescent homes, or similar accommodation were outside the scope of this survey.
- Those cases of heart or circulatory conditions reported through the 'Long-term conditions' module, rather than the 'heart and circulatory conditions' module, have not necessarily been diagnosed by a doctor or nurse. Data for these respondents are identified by their conditions status of 4. Not known or not ever told, but condition current and long-term.
- The conditions recorded are as reported by respondents. In some cases it could be expected that some conditions reported may be symptoms of other heart or circulatory conditions, or other conditions. For example, oedema may be a symptom of a heart valve disorder. Respondents were not asked to associate conditions in this way, such that both symptoms and underlying conditions may have been reported in some cases, and only symptoms or only conditions in other cases.
Comparability with 2014-15
Heart and circulatory conditions data are considered directly comparable between the 2017-18 and 2014-15 NHS.
More information regarding comparisons between 2014-15 NHS and previous cycles is available in the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4363.0).