Untreated HIV increases the risk of heart disease but starting treatment can reduce these risks.
If you have HIV it is important to look after your heart. HIV speeds up the ageing of the immune system and inflames it, which can make cardiovascular disease more likely.
Untreated HIV increases the risk of heart disease, but starting treatment right away can reduce these risks.
Recent research has also found that diseases of old age, including cardiovascular disease (strokes and heart attacks, among others), are more prevalent in older people living with HIV.
Some antiretroviral drugs, including some protease inhibitors, may interfere with the balance of your blood fats, leading to increases in cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) which can clog up your arteries. If you have any concerns relating to your antiretroviral treatment and your heart, your healthcare team will be able to advise you.
Your cardiovascular system is made up of your heart, blood vessels and the blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body and removes waste from them.
Cardiovascular disease includes a range of conditions which affect the heart and circulation. These include coronary heart disease (the biggest killer in the UK), stroke, deep vein thrombosis and heart attack.
These conditions are often caused by lifestyle factors although they are sometimes genetic.
According to the British Heart Foundation, coronary heart disease (angina and heart attack) and stroke are usually caused by a narrowing of the arteries known as atherosclerosis. This is where fatty deposits, known as atheroma, gradually build up on the walls of the arteries, making it harder for blood to get through. More about heart problems.
Your lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease. By stopping smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, having a healthy diet low in saturated fats, exercising regularly and addressing problems such as high cholestrol and high blood pressure, you can help keep your heart healthy.
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This article was last reviewed on
by Anna Peters
Date due for the next review: 9/2/2018
Content Author: Kerri Virani
Current Owner: Health promotion
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Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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