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Millions unaware of heart risk

3rd September 2008

Specialists have warned that a third of all adults in Britain who are most likely to develop cardiovascular disease over the next decade are unaware that they are at risk.

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They now want checks to find up to four million people who have not yet been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A survey of 71,000 adults carried out in 35 towns showed that 75% of men and 45% of women over 50 already had CVD or diabetes, were taking cholesterol or blood pressure drugs or were at high risk of developing CVD.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, concluded that from that, some 7.9 million people have been diagnosed with heart disease or are at high risk of developing it but a further 2.8 million men and 900,000 women remain undiagnosed.

The research team said many of these people had not received treatment or lifestyle advice.
Professor of Epidemiology Andrew Neil from Oxford University said: "Our findings reinforce the need for a national cardiovascular risk assessment programme and we welcome the announcement by the Department of Health that plans are being put in place to institute primary care checks."

While 60% of people had been identified, he said the major challenge remained in finding the other 40%.

Heart screening checks for people aged 40 to 74 are to be rolled out nationwide under plans announced by the Government.

Diabetes UK said the findings of the study highlighted the urgency and importance of the proposed screening programme.

 

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