heart attacks and strokes

A new drive from the NHS and Public Health England (PHE) to help prevent heart attacks and strokes has been announced today

New analysis from PHE suggests that there is an opportunity to prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes, brought on by cardiovascular disease (CVD), over the next 3 years.

Health officials suggest that better detection and management of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation could save thousands of people from heart attacks and strokes.

The new analysis reveals that optimising treatment in all people with diagnosed high blood pressure, over 3 years has the potential to prevent up to 9,710 heart attacks and 14,500 strokes in England.

Achieving optimal treatment for those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation has the potential to avert up to 14,220 strokes, saving £241 million.

In England, 5.5 million people have undiagnosed high blood pressure and nearly half a million have undiagnosed atrial fibrillation.

These are both symptomless conditions that substantially increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

PHE Chief Executive, Duncan Selbie wants people to become accustomed to their high blood pressure numbers, and be as familiar with them as they are to their credit card PIN or height.

He said: “Too many people are still living in poor health and dying from a largely preventable disease. The good news is that we know how most heart attacks and strokes can be avoided.

“Scaling up CVD prevention locally is a major part of reducing the overall burden on individuals, families and the NHS.”

A coordinated cross-system approach

NHS England and PHE will urge the new sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) to take a coordinated cross-system approach to improve identification and treatment of these conditions.

The majority of STPs have identified prevention of cardiovascular disease as a priority.

Health officials have written to all 44 STPs, drawing attention to the prevention opportunity in their local areas.

By working across larger populations, STPs can mobilise clinical leaders across geography and drive larger-scale improvements.

These include access to blood pressure testing in the workplace and using the wider local authority and third sector workforce to carry out health checks in community settings.

Some local areas have already taken on board and are implementing new measures with encouraging results.


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