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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Britain's children are facing a future of poor health because they are eating junk food and not getting enough exercise, a leading health charity has found.
The report by the British Heart Foundation and Oxford University found:
- Over three-quarters (80 percent) of children aged five to 15 are not getting their recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day.
- Around two in five 13-year-olds (39 percent of girls and 43 percent of boys) drink a soft drink every day.
- At least 85 percent of girls and 73 percent of 13-year-old boys do not do an hour of physical activity every day.
- Almost three-quarters of 13-year-olds (68 percent of girls and 74 percent of boys) watch at least two hours of TV on a weekday.
- A quarter of children under 15 spend at least six hours every weekend day being inactive.
Mark Tanzer, CEO the Association of British Travel Agents said, fraudsters find travel arrangements "attractive" targets because of the large sums of money involved, and the time lapse between the booking and the holiday. He added:
Its particularly distressing for people when they might save up for months or even years for their holiday, or to visit family overseas, only to discover the flight or hotel doesnt exist. Many are left devastated as they cannot afford another holiday. You should always check a companys credentials before you book and if a deal looks too good to be true it probably is.
The British Heart Foundation is calling on people across the UK to fight back against heart disease.
The charity has launched a new national campaign which brings together heart patients and scientists to talk about the research which is needed to fight the disease.
The moving TV advert also features the moment that footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered from an on pitch cardiac arrest.
New figures from the British Heart Foundation have revealed the inequalities in deaths from heart disease across the country.
Worst heart health towns in the UK (2009 to 2011):
- Tameside, Greater Manchester has a death rate of 132
- Ballymoney, Northern Ireland has a death rate of 129
- Glasgow, Scotland has a death rate of 128
- Blackburn with Darwen, NW England has a death rate of 127
- West Dunbartonshire, Scotland has a death rate of 124
Best heart health town in the UK (2009 to 2011):
- Kensington and Chelsea, London has a death rate of 39