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54% dont know if they have family history of heart disease

Friday 10th November 2017
Some 54 per cent of people in the UK are unaware of their family history of heart disease, according to new research. Image: Tharakorn via iStock
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More than half of people in the UK do not know whether or not heart disease runs in their family, new research has revealed.

A survey carried out by the charity Cardiomyopathy UK led to the discovery that 54 per cent of people have no idea if they have a genetic risk of heart disease.

As a result, they may not be making lifestyle changes that could potentially save their lives due to a simple lack of awareness.

Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of the 2,000 adults questioned for the poll reported that they had never been asked by their doctor about their own or their family's history of heart problems.

The heart health charity is concerned that this means a significant number of people could be unknowingly living with cardiomyopathy (heart disease).

With this in mind, Cardiomyopathy UK has launched a new awareness campaign designed to educate people about the symptoms they should be looking out for that could be a sign they are suffering from heart problems.

These include breathlessness, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, tiredness, swollen ankles or swelling in the stomach and chest pains. People are being urged to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they are worried they are suffering from any of these with no other explanation that they are aware of.

In addition, the charity is encouraging people to ask relatives about their own heart health in order to increase awareness of cardiac history in families.

June Davison, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, commented: "Cardiomyopathy can be an inherited heart condition, which means that it's passed on through families.

"If you're aware that a close family member has this condition, it's important that you see your doctor to arrange a referral to a specialist for investigations and to discuss the possibility of genetic testing."

Written by Mathew Horton

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