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Heart attacks 'kill 200 people aged under 65 per week'

Published 25/08/2015

Kieron Morris with his parents Wendy and Richard, both of whom died from heart attacks in their fifties (BHF/PA)
Kieron Morris with his parents Wendy and Richard, both of whom died from heart attacks in their fifties (BHF/PA)
Around 10,000 people under the age of 65 die every year as a result of heart attacks, research shows

Heart attacks cut short the lives of nearly 200 Britons younger than 65 each week, a charity has revealed.

Figures from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show that last year nearly 10,000 people across the UK suffered a fatal heart attack before they had a chance to retire.

The grim death toll was highlighted as part of a new campaign by the charity to raise awareness of the devastating impact heart conditions have on families.

A heart attack strikes someone every three minutes in the UK.

In 2013-2014, almost 188,000 heart attack victims were treated in UK hospitals, compared with 175,000 the year before, said the BHF. Around a third of all heart attacks are fatal.

Professor Peter Weissberg, the charity's medical director, said: "Through medical research, we've made great progress in saving the lives of people suffering from heart attacks. But we mustn't be lulled into thinking we've beaten the disease. Every year thousands of people are still dying from heart attacks, and coronary heart disease remains the UK's single biggest killer.

"We urgently need to fund more research to find new ways to prevent and treat heart attacks, and ultimately, save more lives. Despite knowing some of the lifestyle and genetic factors that increase the risk of heart attack, we still have no way to stop the furring of the arteries in coronary heart disease that is responsible for causing so many heart attacks. This is a challenge that only research can provide the answer to."

An estimated 2.3 million people in the UK live with coronary heart disease, which remains the nation's biggest killer.

Yet remarkably little is understood about the processes leading to atherosclerosis - the hardening and narrowing of arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Heart disease claims almost 70,000 lives each year in the UK, mostly as a result of fatal heart attacks.

BHF chief executive Simon Gillespie said: "Every week heart attacks devastate hundreds of families across the UK, by killing loved ones at an early age and leaving many others with debilitating heart conditions that make the rest of their life a daily struggle.

"The only way we can find new ways to prevent and treat heart attacks is by funding more research. Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, much of the research we've funded over the last 50 years is today helping to save and improve lives. We now need the continued backing of our supporters and the general public if we're to make the advances that could save even more lives from heart disease."

The charity currently funds around £100 million of new research on heart and circulatory disease each year.

Kieron Morris, 33, from York, lost both his parents to sudden heart attacks when he was in his twenties and they were in their fifties.

He said: "Nothing can prepare you for getting a phone call out of the blue and finding out your mum has had a heart attack, or watching your own father keel over in front of you.

"Losing both parents to heart attacks was such a shock. They were both happy, healthy people going about their daily lives - you just don't expect your loved ones to be torn away from you like that."

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