How to reduce the risk of heart disease

We can't do anything about our age, or our family medical history. But good diet, exercise, and the Government's screening programme can help in the battle against the 'silent killer'.

Heart disease has long been known as the 'silent killer' . Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, says this holds true today. "Most of the factors are silent," he points out. "They include family history and high blood pressure which is symptomless."

Risk factors that can affect the health of our hearts include: lack of exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history and age.


"Another group that is at risk are young people – aged between 14 and 35. Though this is a rarer occurrence, 12 young people lose their lives to sudden cardiac death (SCD) every week in the UK. And of those, 80 per cent will have shown no prior symptoms or warnings.

Screening can help alert people to heart conditions and reduce the number of deaths in apparently fit and healthy young people. The CRY Philips Test My Heart Tour 09 will tour the country until the end of June offering people free heart screening tests. The tour aims to test over 3,000 14 – 35 year-olds to identify heart conditions, which could potentially prove fatal if left untreated.

Alison Cox, CEO of CRY, says: "We hope that these incentives will drive awareness of Sudden Death Syndrome and emphasise the importave of testing."