68,000 people in the North
West at risk of sudden death from silent heart conditions
AROUND 68,000 people in the North West
are carrying a faulty gene that puts them at high risk of developing coronary
heart disease or sudden death, according to new estimates from the British Heart
Foundation (BHF)Worryingly, the majority of people affected are undiagnosed and unaware that
they may be at risk of a deadly heart attack or cardiac arrest. The figure is
higher than previous estimates due to better understanding of the prevalence of
inherited heart conditions.
The UK's leading heart research charity warns the overall figure could be much
higher due to underdiagnoses and undiscovered faulty genes which can increase a
person's risk of these potentially fatal conditions.
Inherited heart conditions can affect people of any age and each child of
someone with an inherited heart condition can have a 50% chance of inheriting
it. For many families, the first sign there's a problem is when someone dies
suddenly with no obvious cause or explanation.
Each week in the UK around 12 seemingly healthy people aged 35 or under are
victims of sudden cardiac death with no explanation, largely due to these
BHF funded research has helped to discover many of the faulty genes that cause
inherited heart conditions, which has led to the development of structured
genetic testing services for those at highest risk. However, more research is
urgently needed to better detect and treat these conditions to stop the
devastation brought to loved ones, who could also be at risk themselves.
Former England cricketer, James Taylor is backing the BHF's campaign after being
forced to retire at the age of 26 after being diagnosed with arrhythmogenic
right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in April last year.
ARVC is an inherited heart condition that causes heart muscle to be replaced by
fibrous tissue and fat so the ventricle becomes thin and stretched, meaning the
heart does not pump blood around your body properly and there is an increased
risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation,
said:- "The reality is that there are an estimated 620,000 people in the
UK and around 68,000 people in the North West specifically who are unaware that
they could be at risk of sudden death.
If undetected and untreated, inherited heart conditions, can be deadly and they
continue to devastate families, often by taking away loved ones without warning.
Thanks to the public's kind support BHF funded researchers have discovered some
of the genes responsible for these frightening conditions, but there is still
much to do. We urgently need to fund more research to better understand these
heart conditions, make more discoveries, develop new treatments and save more
Speaking of his involvement, James Taylor said:- "It is safe to say that
being diagnosed with ARVC was the toughest and scariest week of my life. I never
would have thought it would happen to me, I was 26 years old and playing cricket
for England but my condition meant that I was at risk of sudden death from a
I was lucky as my condition was detected early and despite having to give up my
career, with medication I can lead a relatively normal life. But it could have
been an incredibly different story.
Please help the BHF fund even more life saving research and together, we can
fight back against these conditions that rip families apart."
The BHF has launched a new television campaign to raise awareness of the sudden
devastation caused by heart disease. In the advert, a bridesmaid suffers a
cardiac arrest due to an inherited heart condition on her sister's wedding day.
To more information and advice about inherited heart conditions and to support
the BHF to fund more research to end the devastation of heart disease visit the