This site is intended for health professionals only

Millions at high risk of heart disease

One in three people with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the next 10 years have not been diagnosed, according to an Oxford University study.

The shortfall in identifying people at high risk is greatest when it comes to middle-aged men, says the study of more than 71,000 men and women published in the September issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

The study suggests that 7.9 million people in the UK have already been diagnosed with CVD or have a medically recognised risk of developing the disease in the next 10 years. But there are a further 2.8 million men and 900,000 women who face a high risk but have not been diagnosed. This means that they have not received the treatment and advice that could prevent them from developing CVD.  

"Our findings reinforce the need for a national CVD risk assessment programme, and we welcome the announcement by the Department of Health earlier this year that plans are being put in place to institute primary care checks for people aged from 40 to 74," says lead author Professor Andrew Neil from the Division of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Oxford.

The screening programme was carried out by specially trained nurses at public events and in towns and cities, including supermarket locations.

University of Oxford

Why do you think heart disease rates are so high in the UK? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"It could be due to high stress levels. Cost of living is spiriling out of hand. A lot of pressure on people to meet up with the high demands placed on them to succeed. Some people tend to cope by engaging in such life style like smoking, eating junk food, little or no exercise, working long hours, depression, little or no social life etc. All this put strain on the cardiovascular system." - Lovett, Okeke, Borehamwood

"I think one of the main cause is that of lifestyle inclusive of diet. Health education does have some effect but it is extremely difficult to change one's behaviour patterns except that which comes from the individual himself, ie, wanting to change and doing something about it." - V Henry, N15