Monday , June 14 2021

"Know your cholesterol as you know your PIN"

Keeping the heart healthyCopyright on the image
Getty Images

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Most cases of cardiovascular disease can be prevented through a healthy diet and lifestyle

People are encouraged to know their cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as know their bank PIN because they can save their lives.

These figures show early signs of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Forty health organizations joined forces to push more people to go for a routine health check.

Doctors also need to better identify and treat risk patients, they say.

Cardiovascular disease (GCC) causes one in four deaths in England, equivalent to one who dies every four minutes.

Poor heart and artery health can also lead to heart failure, kidney disease, arterial disease and vascular dementia.

Thus, health authorities are working to improve the detection and treatment of three conditions that contribute to the COP – atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – over the next 10 years.

These conditions often have no symptoms, so health experts recommend people take advantage of free NHS health checks for all over 40s in GP surgery, some local pharmacies and shopping malls.

They also invite people over 30 to take a heart test.

Copyright on the image
Ian Kemp

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Keith had to give up his job after his second heart attack

"I had to quit the job"

Keith Wilson, from Liverpool, had a heart attack at 37.

"I did not have any symptoms and there was no reason to believe I was sick in any way," he says.

His father died of heart disease at the end of his sixties, so he supposed it was something that happened to older people.

"I just did not think I would get it, I was complacent," he says.

After a second stroke, Keith spent the next three to four years in a hospital and outside to receive treatment.

He had to give up his job and it really affected his family and his young son.

Now 60, Keith is concerned about his health and closely watches how much he drinks and exercises. He gave up smoking immediately after heart attacks.

"Better prevention than cure"

Most GCC cases are preventable and, along with free health checks, PHE recommends that people:

  • stop smoking
  • eat healthy
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • beverages at safe levels

The report also calls on healthcare professionals to improve the way they manage patients at risk of GCC.

By 2029, PHE and NHS England wanted:

  • 80% of people with high blood pressure were found and treated – compared to 57% at the time
  • 75% of 40- to 74-year-olds whose cholesterol levels are measured – less than 50% currently receive a free exam
  • 45% of 40- to 74-year-olds with high-risk CAD treated with statins – compared with 35% at the moment

These goals will help to meet the commitment to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases as outlined in the government's long-term NHS plan.

But there is no new means for these new goals.

Duncan Selby, CEO of Public Health England, said: "We know our PIN numbers, but not the figures that save our lives.

"Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people who know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and seek help earlier."

Professor Steven Pavis, NHS Medical Director, said reducing health inequalities is also a priority, as people in the most needy communities are four times more likely to die prematurely than GSEs than those in the most well-off.

Health Minister Matt Hancock said: "Almost half of people with high blood pressure are busy with their everyday lives without being detected or treated.

"Millions of people are unnecessarily at risk of heart attack or stroke when this can be prevented.

"I want to help more people take the time to protect their future health and to check."

Five million people are expected not to diagnose high blood pressure in England.

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