It's Time For A Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programme

02/10/2017 16:14 BST | Updated 02/10/2017 16:14 BST

Around seven million people in the UK are currently living with a cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.

Detecting, treating and preventing these conditions cost the NHS billions of pounds every year. And the number of people affected by cardiovascular disease is likely to rise with an ageing and growing population. Records show that the number of hospital visits for cardiovascular disease has reached the highest level for decades.

We urgently need to help more people lower their risk of heart disease, which is why we welcome this Public Health England action plan for cardiovascular disease prevention.

We have partnered with Public Health England to help support clinical leadership by developing a network of local communities of practice across England to support quality improvements in cardiovascular disease prevention and management.

Millions of people are living with undetected medical risk factors such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol.

Nearly 30 per cent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure and are up to three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Statistics reveal that around 40% of people with high blood pressure are not diagnosed.

But if we were to optimally manage those with high blood pressure, over three years 14,500 strokes and 9,700 heart attacks in England could be avoided, saving up to £202m and £72m respectively.

We are funding innovative initiatives and are collaborating with others across the health system to enable more people to get their blood pressure checked and managed appropriately.

Equally, we know that 30% of people with atrial fibrillation are not diagnosed. But by optimally treating high-risk AF patients around 14,220 strokes in England could be avoided, saving up to £242m over three years.

We have also helped develop tools, such as the Heart Age Test, which enables individuals to find out their risk of heart disease by entering risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, age and weight.

With improving data we know which areas need to be improved and the impact of implementing best practice.

Working with health system leaders and governments, together we can tackle undetected hypertension, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol, to reduce the burden of stroke and heart attack.

Given the size of the opportunity, in terms of heart attacks and stroke which could be prevented, we think it's time for a cardiovascular disease prevention programme which focuses on medical risk factors such as blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and cholesterol.