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Statins are 'safe, effective, cholesterol-lowering' drugs

Statins are a "safe, effective, cholesterol-lowering drug" and are proven to lower the risk of heart disease, according to the British Heart Foundation.

People with high cholesterol are at significantly greater risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s vital to reduce your cholesterol levels either through medication or lifestyle changes.

NICE has taken the sensible decision to reconsider the threshold for who should be prescribed statins.

However, looking at someone’s risk of heart disease in the next ten years is too short a time frame. We should be taking a more holistic approach by looking at a person’s risk over their whole lifetime as recently recommended by leading cardiovascular organisations.

In the meantime, it is important that anyone who has already been prescribed statins continues to take them as advised by their doctor to help maintain a healthy heart.

– Mike Knapton, British Heart Foundation

Genetic test for heart problem 'can save lives'

Genetic tests for the children of parents with heart problems "can save their life", a health chief has said.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, said:

Over recent years researchers have made great strides in identifying some of the genes that cause inherited heart conditions.

A genetic test in a child of an affected parent can save their life. More research is now urgently needed to identify all the genes responsible for these deadly disorders.

Pinpointing genes which cause inherited heart conditions will allow affected children to be protected and, in the long term, will lead to new treatments to overcome the effects of the faulty gene.

– Professor Peter Weissberg


'Urgent need' for more research into heart conditions

There is an "urgent need" to increase research into inherited heart conditions as an estimated half a million people in the UK could be living with faulty genes, experts have said.

Read: Polar bear DNA 'may help fight obesity'

Some half a million British people could be living with an undiagnosed heart condition, the BHF said. Credit: PA

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) found the amount of people living with a faulty gene which put them at risk of developing heart disease or dying suddenly was much high higher than the previous estimate of 380,000.

The charity said that despite advancements in research, many faulty genes still remain undiscovered.

Read: Statins found to have 'almost no side effects'

More than a third in UK 'priced out of healthy food'

More than a third of people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat healthily due to high food prices, a charity has warned.

A man in a supermarket with veg and fruit in his basket.
Nearly 40% of people questioned admitted they have to sacrifice healthiness for cost when it comes to groceries. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

A survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggests that two thirds of people in the UK would like to eat more healthily, but 42% said they cannot because it is too expensive.

Soaring food prices have seen grocery bills rise almost twice as fast as rent in the last five years, the BHF said, leaving nearly 40% of people admitting they have to sacrifice healthiness for cost when it comes to groceries.

Coroners 'should tell bereaved families to get screened'

Coroners could help save the lives of hundreds of people by telling bereaved family members to get themselves screened for inherited heart conditions, a charity has said.

New guidance which calls on coroners in England and Wales to recommend that family members of those who die of genetic heart conditions get themselves a check-up could "save hundreds of lives", the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said.

The heart charity said a death in the family can sometimes be the first time people find out about an inherited ailment, yet even after such deaths family members do not always get themselves screened.

It said that every year in the UK around 600 people under the age of 35 die suddenly, with no apparent explanation or cause, and many of these deaths are due to an inherited heart condition.

BHF urge people to check pulse to reduce risk of stroke

Checking your pulse is a simple way of seeing if you are at risk of a heart condition that could lead to strokes, the chief executive of the British Heart Foundation has said, after new research revealed that more than a million people had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Simon Gillespie said:

The real danger with atrial fibrillation is that some people don't realise they have it. You can be going about your daily routine oblivious to the fact you're five times more likely to have a devastating stroke.

[Only] through research can we tackle this dangerous disorder and prevent its devastating consequences.


Heart beat irregularity condition 'can lead to strokes'

The British Heart Foundation has revealed that more than a million people in the UK now live with a condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly and can lead to strokes.

According to the research:

  • The heart condition causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, frequently leading to dizziness and shortness of breath
  • Sufferers may also feel palpitations and become very tired
  • A normal heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats a minute when a person is resting, with a regular rhythm
  • Some people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms and are completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular
  • If left untreated, atrial fibrillation can significantly increase the risk of a blood clot forming inside the heart, which increases the risk of stroke five-fold
  • The BHF said atrial fibrillation is responsible for 22,500 strokes a year in the UK

More than a million affected by heart condition in UK

More than a million affected by a heart condition Credit: Public Health England

More than a million people in the UK now live with a condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly and can lead to strokes.

Data from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shows the UK has, for the first time, topped the million mark in the number of people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

The figure is up almost 20% on five years ago. High blood pressure, heart valve disease and binge drinking are among the causes alongside the fact people are living longer.

BHF: More research needed to 'unravel' heart defects

More needs to be done to battle heart defects at birth and prevent babies from dying young, a health charity has said.

The BHF has launched a campaign to raise awareness for the 70,000 children living in the UK with heart defects.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF explained:

The fact 70,000 children are living with heart defects shows that heart disease is not just a problem for adults.

Our research is beginning to unravel how some of these defects occur. But there's still a long way to go. Families need our support in other ways too, to help them understand and come to terms with what's happening to their child.

– Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF

Unhealthy teens warned of heart problems in their 20s

Health problems caused by poor diet could start in adults as early as their twenties, the chief executive of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned.

Speaking to Daybreak, Simon Gillespie explained how adults in their 20s could find themselves with heart disease or diabetes if they did not eat healthily and exercise regularly in their teens.

The sorts of things that people are accepting as normal now will actually cause significant problems for our children and teenagers later in life.

And maybe not that much later on in life, either - in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. (Someone's) lifestyle provides a number of risk factors which interact in a number of complex ways.

Nevertheless, if you are overweight or obese, if you don't exercise enough, if you don't have a proper diet, if you have too much sugar - all of these things contribute to it.

– Simon Gillespie
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