Thousands of families devastated by heart attacks in East Midlands

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

The latest figures from the charity show that more than 170,000 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.

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 BHF.

British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology, Director Leicester NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease and head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences Professor Sir Nilesh Samani (pictured) said: “My colleagues and I at the University of Leicester want to see a world where no-one dies prematurely or suffers from cardiovascular disease. It is the major cause of heart attacks and strokes, which can cause long term damage impacting on people’s physical and mental health.

“Thanks to the BHF’s supporters’ donations towards our research, we’ve discovered 46 different genes associated with developing coronary heart disease. These findings will hopefully lead to new treatments that target the disease processes affected by these genes. 

"When someone has a heart attack, it is usually because the arteries that supply their heart muscle are blocked by a clot, cutting off the supply of oxygen-rich blood. Starving the heart of blood irreversibly damages the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure. For patients diagnosed with severe heart failure, the chances of surviving for more than five years are worse than many forms of cancer."