Experts unite in fight against cardiovascular conditions

Public Health England and NHS England have announced they’ve joined a coalition of more than 40 organisations that aims to detect and treat the three major causes of cardiovascular disease: atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Cardiovascular disease, the experts say, can be prevented or delayed if these three conditions are detected and treated. However they often have no symptoms, so it’s thought millions don’t realise they are at risk and in need of treatment. For example, it’s estimated that more than five million people are living with high blood pressure in England alone, but their condition hasn’t been diagnosed.

Within the next 10 years, the coalition hopes to achieve the following:

  • To diagnose 80 per cent of people living with high blood pressure (currently, just 57 per cent of those thought to have high blood pressure have been diagnosed).
  • To increase the number of people aged between 40 and 74 who have received a formal cardiovascular risk check and cholesterol test from the current 49 per cent to 75 per cent.
  • To increase the number of people aged between 40 and 74 who are at high risk of developing cardiovascular conditions who are treated with cholesterol-lowering medicines from the current 35 per cent to 45 per cent.

Prevention is better than cure

“Prevention is at the heart of our vision for improving the health of the nation, empowering people to stay healthy, not just treating them when they’re ill,” says government Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“Almost half of those with high blood pressure are going about their daily lives without it being detected or treated. Millions of people are needlessly at risk of heart attacks or strokes when it could be prevented. So I want to help more people take the time out to protect their future health and get checked.”

According to Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie, knowing your health numbers is essential: “We know our PIN numbers but not the numbers that save our lives,” he says.

“Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people knowing their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and by seeking help early.:

What should you do?

There are a number of things you can do to find out if you’re at risk and to find out what you should do to keep your cardiovascular system healthy, including:

  • Take up your GP’s offer of a free NHS Health Check if you’re aged between 40 and 74 – this will help you find out if you’re at risk of cardiovascular conditions and how you could lower your risk.
  • If you’re aged 30 or older, take the online NHS Heart Age Test to find out more about the things that can affect your heart health.
  • If you’re between 18 and 30 years of age, try taking the How Are You quiz on the OneYou website for tips on healthy living.

Whatever your age, it’s easy to find out about making your lifestyle as healthy as possible. There’s lots of advice on the OneYou website, plus you can ask your local Careway pharmacist for healthy living tips.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.