The nation’s approach to just how seriously we take our heart health has been revealed by new research. One in four people (25%) said it took someone they know to have a heart attack for them to take their heart health more seriously. The study from Bupa shows that over half of those asked (51%) admit they’re worried about getting heart disease. Despite this 44% say they would need to have a health scare and a third (32%) said a personal illness in order to make them think about living a healthier heart lifestyle. The average person also admitted they didn’t or wouldn’t start taking their heart health seriously until their 40s.
Interestingly, a further one in eight (13%) people were prompted to think about their heart health when someone they knew was diagnosed with high cholesterol, while one in 10 (11%) were prompted by having children.
Dr Steven Luttrell, Medical Director at Bupa says:
“Coronary heart disease is the biggest cause of death in the UK causing almost 74,000 deaths every year. With nearly 2.3 million people in the UK living with heart disease, people need to be more aware of the risk factors associated with the disease..
“People can’t afford to wait until they face a health scare to take action. We can all take active steps now to reduce our future risk of heart disease.”
The research shows that whilst a staggering eight in 10 (80%) people say they’re not confident of the signs of heart disease there appears to be some confusion about the information available. A quarter (25%) of people say there isn’t enough information out there, while a fifth of respondents (18%) say there’s too much information, but third (33%) of respondents admit that realistically most people just don’t want to know.
However, understanding the contributing factors to heart disease is an important first step in identifying whether you are at risk of heart disease and to enable you to take preventative action. Worryingly, of those questioned, only a quarter (26%) knew their cholesterol level, just 37% their blood pressure reading and 4 in 10 (42%) their BMI.
Younger people aged between 18 to 24 are the least knowledgeable about their heart health, with a staggering 91% not knowing their cholesterol levels and three quarters (79%) not knowing their blood pressure.
Dr Steven Luttrell continues:
“Everyone can do something to help reduce their future risk of heart disease, even if you don’t think you’re at high risk. More women die prematurely from heart disease than breast cancer, so its vital that both men and women lead healthy lifestyles by maintaining a healthy weight, doing some physical exercise and not smoking.
“I’d recommend speaking to your doctor or having a health assessment to check your cardiac risk, learn more about your health and to get helpful advice. Taking steps now to live a healthier lifestyle really can make the world of difference.”
The annual cost of treating coronary heart disease in the UK is nearly £2 billion. Bupa’s own specialist cardiac support team take on average 8,000 calls a month from members requiring treatment or advice on heart disease.
Bupa offers cardiovascular risk checks as part of its health assessments available in clinics across the UK, suporting people to assess their risk and understand the lifestyle changes that can help make a difference. The healthcare provider also offers customers with heart disease access to a specialist team of nurses and dieticians through its COACH Program which helps members suffering from heart disease to manage and improve their diet and lifestyle, helping to minimise further risks to their health.
Full press release on www.bupa.com