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New drive to prevent CVD

Thursday February 14th, 2019

A major drive to tackle the three major causes of cardiovascular disease in England has been announced.

The project will target atrial fibrillation, hypertension and high cholesterol levels and is being run jointly by NHS England and Public Health England.

New targets will seek to ensure the NHS in England is diagnosing 80% of those with hypertension within ten years. The proportion is currently thought to stand at 57%.

The project will target those aged between 40 and 74 and mean that by 2029 75% of these have their cholesterol checked as part of a cardiovascular risk check.

And 45% of those of this age group found to be at high risk would be taking statins, according to the new targets.

Campaigners said that success would mean offering these checks in community settings, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Professor Jamie Waterall, Public Health England's lead on cardiovascular disease, said: "Millions are unaware that they are living with these serious but treatable conditions.

"Detecting them early will help avoid thousands of heart attacks and strokes, the majority of which are preventable."

British Heart Foundation chief executive Simon Gillespie said: "Heart and circulatory diseases are responsible for one in four deaths in this country, so improved detection of the major risk factors will play a critical role in the fight to save lives. If these ambitions are made a reality, the prospects of millions of at-risk people will be transformed.

"For this to happen we must embrace innovative approaches so those at greatest risk of developing these conditions are identified at an early stage – making it as routine to know your numbers as it is to know your bank PIN number or weight.

"This means taking detection out into the community, making sure those with atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure or raised cholesterol have access to testing in local settings such as a supermarket or pharmacy."

* Screening of patients for atrial fibrillation should be stepped up, an expert says today in The BMJ.

Single lead ECG devices are “inexpensive, non-invasive, re-usable, and convenient," according to Dr Mark Lown, of Southampton University.

Dr Lown says that intermitted and repeated screening could help reduce the risk of misdiagnosis.

He says that anticoagulation therapy can reduce the risk of stroke from 4% to 1% for patients with atrial fibrillation.

BMJ 14 February 2019

Tags: Heart Health | NHS | UK News

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