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HEART DISEASE – NHS New Lifesaving Strategy

Updated: Apr 1

The NHS is releasing a new game-plan to nudge people to call 999 when they are experiencing early signs of a heart attack

Heart disease is on the rise. NHS findings show that in 2021/22, there were more than 84,000 hospital heart attack admissions. This is an increase of 7,000 in comparison to the year before, which saw lower figures due to the pandemic.

In an effort to tackle this, the NHS is releasing a new campaign to educate more people on the early red flags of heart disease, which are often overlooked and ignored.

Heart and circulatory diseases are more common than you might think. Below are some statistics recorded by the British Heart Foundation that may take you by surprise:

- In the UK, there are around 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases

- Half of the population is estimated to experience heart disease at some point in their lifetime

- In the UK, more than 48,000 people under the age of 75 die from heart and circulatory disease every year

- In 1961, more than half of the deaths in the UK were a result of heart and circulatory diseases

- Every 8 minutes someone dies of coronary heart disease in the UK

The chances of survival from heart attack are significantly higher if treatment is sought out earlier. In fact, if nipped in the bud, the chances of survival are 9 in 10. This is compared to a figure of 7 in 10 for those that seek treatment later.

The importance of spotting the early signals of heart attack cannot be stated enough, and the new advert that is to be released this week will help to educate people on these warning-signs. The main symptoms, as reinforced by the NHS, include the following:

- Chest pain or discomfort

- Weakness, light-headedness, faintness

- Pain in jaw, neck or back

- Pain in one or both arms or shoulders

- Shortness of breath

From survey data, it was found that only 41% of the subjects identified sweating as a potential symptom, as well as only 27% recognising light-headedness, weakness, and uneasiness as indicators of an imminent heart attack. This only further emphasises the importance that you take the time to learn these symptoms and be aware of your own body.

The objective of the new advert is to encourage people to seek out treatment earlier in the occasion that these symptoms are present, with the aim of provididing a far higher chance of survival from heart disease.

In discussion of the new campaign, Lord Markham (health minister) quoted: “A heart attack is a medical emergency – and recognising the symptoms can be the difference between life and death.

“This brilliant campaign shows what to look out for, and we urge people to call 999 immediately if they notice themselves, or others, experiencing these warning signs.

“Cardiovascular disease is the second biggest killer in England, and this campaign builds on the work we’re doing to cut NHS waiting lists by tackling this condition early – including by rolling out a new digital NHS health check which could prevent hundreds more strokes and heart attacks.”

A further purpose from the advert is to place emphasis on the fact that it is not only men that need to be aware of the symptoms of heart attack. Every year, an estimate of 30,000 women are admitted to hospital following from a heart attack, and the risk only increases after menopause.

As well as this, findings from the BHF (British Heart Foundation) reinforce the fact that women should not turn a blind eye to heart attack indicators, with studies showing that coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women in the UK as breast cancer.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the BHF, states that: “Every minute matters when somebody is having a heart attack and could be the difference between life and death. Even if the symptoms don’t seem severe, such as a feeling of squeezing or tightness across the chest – call 999 immediately. A heart attack is a medical emergency and immediate action could save your life.”



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