UK & World News

  • 12 May 2014, 7:39

Heart Risk Warning 'For Both Young And Old'

Up to half a million people in the UK are at unusually high risk of developing heart disease or dying suddenly at a young age due to a faulty gene, the British Heart Foundation has found.

Someone living with an inherited heart condition has a 50:50 chance of passing it onto their children, the BHF warns.

And each year around 600 apparently healthy people aged 35 or under are victims of sudden cardiac death with no explanation, leaving families shocked and distraught.

To alert people of the potential risks and the benefits of early diagnosis, the BHF has launched its Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, from the BFH, told Sky News: "This is not conventional heart disease where your arteries fur up. This is where something mechanically goes wrong with your heart suddenly and therefore you can't change your environmental conditions to make it better.

"What you have to know is if there are certain physical things you shouldn't be doing. Some people are very much at higher risk if taking violent exercise, for example, others if we know what the gene is then we could implant a defibrilator so that if they have such an attack they are saved."

The campaign, launching on television and online today, features a computer-generated version of baby Zara Stroud which was created using 3D and 4D scans from when she was in the womb.

Her mother Caroline discovered that she had a faulty gene for an inherited heart condition before she became pregnant.

She knew that there was a 50:50 chance it could be passed onto her baby.

Zara might have the faulty gene but her condition is being monitored.

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