Half of adults in SW never speak to loved ones about family medical history

Sarah Parker
Authored by Sarah Parker
Posted: Saturday, January 9, 2016 - 12:19

Almost half of adults in the South West are shying away from potentially life saving conversations with their loved ones about health conditions that run in the family, according to new statistics released ahead of the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Wear It Beat It campaign to get the nation wearing red to fight heart disease on Friday 5th February.

Having a family history of cardiovascular disease can put you at increased risk of life-threatening conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
Almost eight in ten adults (79%) in the South West say they would want to know if heart disease ran in their family. (1)

Yet new statistics released by the BHF show nearly half of adults (47%) in the South West have never discussed their family medical history with their loved ones, even though well over two fifths (44%) worry that a relative could develop a condition that runs in their family.

Over two fifths (41%) of people polled in the South West knew someone in their family who has a heart condition or has died from cardiovascular disease. Yet 51% of those couldn’t name what that condition is or what it means.
Two thirds (66%) of people in the region had never spoken with their relatives to find out if they too were at risk of developing the same condition.

One of the main reasons people in the South West said they are reluctant to discuss their family medical history was not wanting to pry into people’s private life (11%). Yet 61% claim talking with their loved ones would inspire them to make positive lifestyle changes to protect against heart disease.

The BHF is calling on people in the South West to put themselves in the picture about their family history of cardiovascular disease, and join the nation to Wear it. Beat it. on Friday 5th February.  By wearing red and holding your own fundraising event you can help power life saving research to revolutionise the way we prevent and treat cardiovascular disease which blights so many families.

Last year more than an incredible 23,000 people took part in Wear it. Beat it and the BHF is calling for even more of you to get involved this year to help raise £1million for life saving research.

Sign up online at www.bhf.org.uk/red and get your free fundraising pack full of fun ideas about how to get involved.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “These statistics show that too few of us are having important conversations with our relatives about our inherited risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease can strike without warning, but by knowing if you’re predisposed to these devastating conditions you can help protect yourself against it.

“As a GP it is vital I know the details of any family history of disease when making an assessment and diagnose with one of my patients.

“Although you can’t change your family history, you can change your lifestyle and reduce your risk of heart disease.  Help us find new ways to fight cardiovascular disease by signing up to Wear it. Beat it. and you will help fund cutting-edge research to better understand, treat and predict who is at risk.”

The BHF receives no Government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of our supporters to pay for life saving research.

By taking part in Wear it. Beat it. and organising your own fundraising event you can help fund new discoveries in the fight for every heartbeat.

For more information and to get your free fundraising pack visit www.bhf.org.uk/red or call 0300 3300645.