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Ambitions to combat causes of cardiovascular disease

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Just over half of people with high blood pressure Just over half of people with high blood pressure have been detected

The first ever national ambitions to improve the detection and treatment of atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have been announced by Public Health England.

By 2029, PHE and NHS England want to detect and treat millions more people living with high blood pressure who are currently undiagnosed. Currently, just over half (57%) of those with high blood pressure have been detected (6.8 million people) – the ambition is to increase this to 4 in 5 people (80%).

Additionally, the organisations wish to ensure three quarters (75%) of 40- to 74-year-olds have received a formal cardiovascular disease risk check and have had their cholesterol levels recorded; currently fewer than half (49%) of those eligible for a formal check have received one (7.6 million people). Finally, they intend to increase from 35% to 45% the proportion of 40 to 74 year olds at high risk of developing CVD who are treated with statins.

‘Know your numbers and save your life,’ said Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England. ‘We know our PIN numbers but not the numbers that save our lives. Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people knowing their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and by seeking help early. Prevention is always better than cure.’

The ambitions also commit to reducing the health inequalities associated with cardiovascular disease, with people in the most deprived communities four-times more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease than those in the least deprived. Health inequality data on each of the high risk conditions and tailored plans to address them will be published by 2021.

‘Prevention is at the heart of our vision for improving the health of the nation, empowering people to stay healthy, not just treating them when they’re ill,’ said Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary. ‘Almost half of those with high blood pressure are going about their daily lives without it being detected or treated. Millions of people are needlessly at risk of heart attacks or strokes when it could be prevented. So I want to help more people take the time out to protect their future health and get checked.’

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