February is the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Month – raising awareness of the sudden devastation caused by inherited heart disease.
There are currently around 600,000 people in the UK living with an inherited heart condition.
Heart disease is heartless – it can strike anyone at any age, at any time, shattering the lives of family and friends that people tragically leave behind.
If an inherited heart condition is detected, treatment may involve medication, surgery or lifestyle changes, including exercise, healthy eating, and quitting smoking.
Common symptoms can include blackouts, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.
For most families, however, the first sign there is something wrong, is when someone dies unexpectedly.
Dr David Whitehead, clinical director at Coastal West Sussex CCG, said: “Inherited heart disease can affect anyone, at any age. It can be difficult to diagnose an inherited heart condition, so if you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with a heart condition below the age of 65, do arrange to see your GP who will be able to advise you.”
During the winter months many health conditions get worse and heart conditions are one of them.
Around 2,800 people die every week from cardiovascular disease between December and March in England and Wales, 14 per cent more than the rest of the year.
Not all conditions are preventable but by eating healthily, taking regular exercise, stopping smoking, and cutting down on alcohol it could lessen your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Keeping your heart as healthy as possible is one of the most important things you should do for your overall health – you only have one.
You may want to speak to the British Heart Foundation genetic information service helpline nurses on 0300 456 8383, available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.
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