Statins for more at-risk adults under plans to tackle heart attacks and strokes

Statins will be given to more adults at risk of heart attacks and strokes under new plans to prevent thousands of cases.

Health officials want to increase the number of people who have had their cholesterol recorded, and detect and treat millions more people living with undiagnosed high blood pressure in England.

The national targets have been announced by a new coalition of organisations, led by NHS England and Public Health England (PHE).

The group hopes to improve detection and treatment of the major causes of cardiovascular disease.

The NHS long-term plan aims to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and cases of dementia within the next 10 years.

“We know our PIN numbers but not the numbers that save our lives,” Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said.

“Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people knowing their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and by seeking help early.

“Prevention is always better than cure.”

Abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are among the major causes of cardiovascular disease.

Currently, just more than half (57%) of people with high blood pressure have been detected, but NHS England and PHE want to increase this to 80% by 2029.

A target has also been set of ensuring three-quarters (75%) of 40 to 74-year-olds have received a formal cardiovascular disease risk check and have had their cholesterol recorded.

At the moment fewer than half (49%) of those eligible for the assessment have had one, PHE said.

Health officials also hope to boost the proportion of 40 to 74-year-olds at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease who are treated with statins, from 35% to 45%.

Statins work by lowering cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which PHE said is the leading cause of premature death and disability in England.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Prevention is at the heart of our vision for improving the health of the nation, empowering people to stay healthy, not just treating them when they’re ill.

“Almost half of those with high blood pressure are going about their daily lives without it being detected or treated.

“Millions of people are needlessly at risk of heart attacks or strokes when it could be prevented.

“So I want to help more people take the time out to protect their future health and get checked.”

The new coalition is made up of more than 40 organisations, including the British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association and several universities.

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