Press office

The Press Office is here to help all journalists looking for information and comment about cholesterol and inherited lipid conditions, HEART UK campaigns, our inspirational fundraisers and helpline services.

Our media team can put you in touch with our spokespeople or provide comment on a range of heart health issues including our campaigns for better diagnosis and standards of care, cholesterol reduction, diet, familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) affecting people in the UK.

We can also comment on breaking research from around the world as well as provide key facts and figures to support stories.

Our case study database contains people from across the UK who are happy to share their stories with the media.

Media Contacts

Call us on 01628 327288 or email us on

Office hours are 9am-5pm. For enquiries outside these times, please call 01628 327288 and we will always try to accommodate deadlines.

Please note this out of hours number is for journalists only who are looking for urgent comment for a story.



Facts and figures

Coronary Heart Disease remains the number 1 killer in the UK.

Deaths In the UK every year

  • 160,000 people die from heart and circulatory disease.
  • 73,000 people die from coronary heart disease (CHD).
  • 40,000 people died from a stroke.
  • 42,000 people died prematurely from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Death rates from CHD are the highest in areas of greatest deprivation.

In Europe

  • CHD is the single most common cause of death before 65 accounting for 16% male and 10% female deaths.
  • CVD is responsible for 38% of male and 37% female deaths before the age of 75.


An estimated 17.3 million people died from CVD; 30% of all deaths.

Premature Death in the UK

  • CHD caused over 23,000 premature deaths in the UK.

Every year in the UK

  • Every 7 minutes someone in the UK will have a heart attack.
  • Every 12 minutes someone in the UK will have a stroke.
  • 2 million men and 900,000 women are living with chronic angina.
  • 20,000 new cases of angina and 25,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed.
  • 1 million men and nearly 500,000 women are living with the after effects of a heart attack.
  • 600,000 men and 600,000 women are living with the after effects of a stroke.
  • Over 1.6 million men and over 1 million women are living with CHD.
  • 800,000 people are living with heart failure.
  • Overall CVD is estimated to cost the UK economy 19 billion - 46% direct healthcare costs, 34% productivity losses and 20% to informal care of people with CVD.

Hospital Admissions and Procedures

  • Over 92,000 percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI's) are now carried out every year in the UK, more than two times the number a decade ago.
  • In 2012/13 the number of hospital admissions for CHD was 404,000 in England, 47,000 in Scotland, 24,000 in Wales and 15,000 in Northern Ireland.


  • Over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol (>5mmol/l).
  • Healthy adults should aim for total cholesterol of 5mmol/l or less and LDL-cholesterol of 3mmol/l or less
  • Adults at increased risk from a heart attack should aim for a 40% or more reduction in their LDL-cholesterol. Targets will be different for all individuals but as a guide a total cholesterol below 4mmol/l, an LDL-cholesterol below 1.8mmol/l and a non-HDL cholesterol below 2.5mmol/l
  • In 2013 in England 300 million prescriptions were issued to help treat CVD
  • Reducing the populations LDL-cholesterol by 5% would prevent 64,000 cases of CVD
  • Reducing the populations LDL-cholesterol by 1mmol/l has the potential to reduce CHD by 19%

Inherited Cholesterol Conditions

  • One in 250 people in the UK may have Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited form of high cholesterol where cholesterol is doubled or more from birth
  • Without treatment people with FH, can die prematurely of heart disease in their 20s, 30s, and 40s
  • More than 265,000 people in the UK may have FH, but less than 10% of these people have been diagnosed.
  • It is estimated that 59,000 children in the UK have FH; fewer than 600 of these are known
  • 1 in 100 of the population are estimated to have Familial Combined Hyperlipidaemia (FCH) an inherited condition where cholesterol and triglycerides are both raised

NHS Health Checks

Approximately 16 million people in England are eligible for an NHS health check

Lifestyle Risk Factors

According to the WHO the eight key risk factors (alcohol use, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high body mass index, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity) account for as much as 61% of all cardiovascular deaths and over three quarters of all CHD: the leading cause of death worldwide.


  • Smoking kills about half of all persistent smokers
  • Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 of all people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland smoke
  • About 14% of deaths from circulatory disease are attributed to smoking
  • Smoking stimulates the formation of fatty plaques (known as atheroma) leading to the narrowing of arteries and reduced blood flow. Smoking also depresses the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood and increases the total cholesterol to HDL ratio (TC:HDL) an indicator of cardiovascular risk.   Nicotine and carbon monoxide constrict blood vessels.  Nicotine stimulates the body to produce adrenaline which speeds up the heart rate and makes the heart work harder.  Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Globally, smoking causes about 71% of lung cancer, 42% of chronic respiratory disease and nearly 10% of cardiovascular disease.


  • In Britain more than a third of men (37%) and over a quarter of women (28%) regularly exceed the government’s recommendations for alcohol.
  • In Wales 48% of men and 36% of women report drinking above the recommended levels.


  • In the UK, adults (19-64 years), consume on average 4.2 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and older adults (65+ years) consume 4.4 portions.
  • 70% of UK adults (19-64) and 63% of older adults fail to meet the ‘five-a-day’ recommendation.
  • Average saturated fat intakes exceed the recommended level of no more than 11% of food energy. Mean saturated fat intake (adults 19-64) is currently around 12.8 per cent of food energy.
  • Average intakes of trans fatty acids provide 0.7-0.9% of food energy, well within the recommendation of no more than 2% food energy.

High Blood Pressure

  • Globally 11% of all disease burden and in developed countries is caused by raised blood pressure.
  • 50% of CHD and almost 75% of strokes in developed countries are attributable to a systolic blood pressure over 115 mmHg
  • Around 1 in 3 adults in England and Scotland have high blood pressure and nearly half of them are not receiving any treatment

Physical Activity

39% of men and 29% of women met the recommended activity levels in 2008 (at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity at least 5 times a week) compared with 32% and 21% respectively in 1997.

Overweight and obesity

  • Almost a quarter of adults (26% of men and 26% of women aged 16 or over) in England were classified as obese in 2010, (Body Mass Index {BMI} of 30 or above)
  • 42% of men and 32% of women in England were classified as overweight in 2010 (BMI 25 but less than 30).
  • 46% of women and 34% of men had a raised waist circumference in 2010 (over 88cm for women and over 102 cm for men).
  • Using BMI and waist circumference to assess risk of health problems in 2010:
    • Men: 20% were estimated to be at increased risk; 14% at high risk and 21% at very high
    • Women: 15% at increased risk; 17% at high risk and 24% at very high risk.