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.
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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) remains the number 1 killer in the UK and the most common cause of premature death.
- Every 8 minutes accounts for one death due to CHD in the UK
- 1 in 7 men and 1 in 12 women die from CHD
- 64,000 people die from CHD each year
- Death rates from CHD are the highest in areas of greatest deprivation
- There are 2.3 million people in the UK living with CHD
- People with CHD or who have had a heart attack are twice as likely to have a stroke
- Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the UK and is the single biggest cause of severe disability
- Every 5 minutes someone in the UK will have a stroke
- Strokes cause 36,000 deaths each year in the UK
- Vascular dementia causes more than 15,000 deaths each year in the UK
- It is the second most common type of dementia affecting at least 150,000 people in the UK
- Vascular dementia accounts for three quarters of dementia cases in stroke survivor
- Over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol (>5mmol/L)
- People living with heart and circulatory diseases may have an even lower target cholesterol
- 7-8 million adults in the UK are currently taking medications to help lower their cholesterol, such as statins
Inherited high 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
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.
- Smoking kills about half of all persistent smokers
- At least 1 in 7 adults smoke cigarettes in the UK - around 8 million adults
- Nearly 100,000 smokers in the UK die from smoking related causes each year
- Up to 20,000 deaths in the UK from heart and circulatory diseases can be attributed to smoking
- 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.
- 75% of UK adults (19-64) fail to meet the "five-a-day" recommendation
- Less than 10% of UK adults meet the fibre recommendations (30g/ day)
- Almost half of UK adults eat more saturated fat than recommended
- 25% of adults in the UK exceed national guidelines for weekly alcohol intake
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for CHD in the UK
- Around 50% of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure
- 28% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure with more than half of these not receiving effective treatment
- Nearly 10 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with high blood pressure by their GP - this means as many as 5 million adults could be underdiagnosed
- More than a third of adults in the UK do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity (150 minutes each week)
You can reduce your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% by being more active
Overweight and obesity
- 27% of adults in the UK are obese (BMI over 30)
- More than a third (35%) are overweight (BMI 25-30)
- 29% of children in the UK are defined as overweight or obese