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Warning over impact of heart attacks

28 August 2015 09:39

UK hospitals treated nearly 188,000 heart attack victims last year

UK hospitals treated nearly 188,000 heart attack victims last year

Almost 10,000 Britons under the age of 65 were killed by heart attacks last year, according to new figures from a leading charity.

The findings, which equate to nearly 200 deaths every week, form part of a new campaign that is being launched by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to make people more aware of the massive impact that heart disease can have on patients' families.

It is thought around 2.3 million people in the UK have coronary heart disease, something that claims the lives of nearly 70,000 people a year - with the vast majority of the deaths caused by heart attacks.

In the UK, around one in three heart attacks prove fatal with 188,000 people being treated in hospital after suffering one in 2013-14, compared to 175,000 the previous year.

Living with a heart condition necessitates various lifestyle changes. But it does not have to stop people doing most of the things they enjoy such as going on holiday - something which can be covered by a medical travel insurance policy.

The BHF's medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, says while huge progress has been made in saving the lives of heart attack victims, people should not be lulled into believing that heart disease has been beaten.

He is reminding people that thousands a year are still dying after suffering a heart attack, with heart disease remaining the country's biggest killer.

Professor Weissberg says it is vital that more research into new ways of treating and preventing heart attacks is funded. And that, he says, could help save more lives.

Although some of the genetic and lifestyle factors which raise the risk of heart attacks are well known, little is understood about how atherosclerosis - the hardening, furring and narrowing of the arteries which can result in heart attacks or strokes - develops.

Professor Weissberg says only further research can provide the key to those unanswered questions and, ultimately, help doctors reduce the death toll.