Call to arms to help beat the devastation caused by heart attacks

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Heart attacks are devastating thousands of families across the East of England according to a new survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) ahead of its Wear it. Beat it. fundraiser for life saving heart research next month.

The survey of people in the East of England with a family member who have suffered a heart attack shows that 40% say they live in constant fear of their loved one suffering a repeat attack and 23% say they feel trapped by the aftereffects of the heart attack .

Around half say they feel angry (45%) and upset (56%) because their loved one has suffered a heart attack and 31% don’t think people understand how serious a heart attack is. More than one in six (15%) say they have had to give up their job or reduce their working hours to care for a loved one.

The latest figures from the charity show that nearly 200,000 people in the region are suffering from coronary heart disease – the nation’s single biggest killer and leading cause of heart attack.

There are around 175,000 heart attacks in the UK each year – meaning someone suffers a heart attack every three minutes . Successful research has led to treatments that mean seven in ten people now survive, but are often left with debilitating heart conditions including heart failure and angina. There is also a toll on people’s emotional health with nearly half (44%) of survivors saying they’ve felt low or depressed after their heart attack, even many years after the event.

The BHF says more research is needed to prevent people suffering heart attacks and to improve the treatments for resulting conditions. The charity currently funds more than £52 million of research in the East of England, but is urging local residents to support Wear it. Beat it. on 6 February to raise funds to continue this life saving research. People are encouraged to host whatever fun-filled events they want – from a red-themed Come Dine with Me with friends and family to a red themed quiz at work or school.

Wear it. Beat it. – part of the BHF’s Heart Month in February – is the BHF’s annual fundraiser for which workplaces, schools, community groups and friends and families wear red and host an event to raise money for the BHFand its vital research.

BHF Professor Martin Bennett at the University of Cambridge is researching imaging techniques that could help doctors spot the most dangerous fatty deposits or plaques in the arteries that could rupture, causing a heart attack. Current techniques tell us where the plaques are and if they’re affecting blood flow, but not whether they are dangerous and could rupture.