Welsh severely underestimate how many of us will get heart or circulatory disease 

People in Wales severely underestimate the scale and seriousness of heart and circulatory diseases, according to a new survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru.


While it’s estimated around half of people in this country will get a heart or circulatory condition during our lifetime, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed in Wales thought the likelihood of them developing a heart condition was only one in 10, while a fifth (20 per cent) thought the chance was just one in 50. Only two per cent of respondents knew the correct answer – which is 1 in 2.


When people were asked if they thought they would be directly affected, millennials (35 per cent) are most likely to think they will ever be affected by heart and circulatory diseases, whereas baby boomers are the least likely (17 per cent).

Despite heart and circulatory conditions affecting men and women almost equally, only 28 per cent of women thought they could be at risk compared to 33 per cent of men.

These perceptions stand in stark contrast to the fact that there are currently 340,000 people living with a heart or circulatory disease in Wales.

Worryingly, the survey also found confusion among members of the public about the seriousness of a heart attack and cardiac arrest. While both are life-threatening emergencies that require immediate medical treatment, only 82 per cent of respondents in Wales would call 999 for an ambulance if they thought a person was having a heart attack, while only 61 per cent of people considered a cardiac arrest a medical emergency.


The BHF released the figures to coincide with the launch of a new campaign that aims to shine a spotlight on hidden heart conditions. The charity says that these conditions can often go undiagnosed for too long and that they often aren’t discovered until something goes wrong, or it becomes too late.


This is something 28-year-old paramedic, Asghar ‘Az’ Iqbal, from Cardiff understands first hand.


Az tragically lost his dad to cardiac arrest when he was just nine years old and became a heart patient himself this year. He was working as a paramedic on board a cruise ship in May 2023 when he started feeling unwell.


He said: “I started getting a tight chest pain and occasionally feeling short of breath. At first I dismissed it at thinking it could be heartburn or a muscle spasm. I just thought that it was because my job can sometimes be fast paced.”


However, one night he was woken up with an intense pain in his chest that “felt like someone was squeezing my heart”.


Az said: “The pain was radiating into my arm and jaw. I felt sweaty and clammy. I told the doctor I thought it was angina pain and then I thought of my dad. There was a direct link to heart disease in my family and I couldn’t dismiss it.”


Az later saw a cardiologist at a hospital in Vancouver, while the ship was docked. An angiogram revealed one of his arteries was 70% blocked. He needed to have a stent fitted straight away and was given medication before flying back home to Cardiff.


Az added: “The job I do as a paramedic is very active. It’s about preventing other people from getting really sick, so I never thought this would happen to me, particularly at my age.”


In Wales someone is admitted to hospital due to a heart attack every 100 minutes. The charity says heart and circulatory conditions can affect almost anyone at any stage of life regardless of lifestyle choices and family history. This contradicts the common misconception we may have of them only affecting those who may be older with unhealthy lifestyles.


Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “It is deeply concerning to see that so many people are unaware of the scale and seriousness of heart and circulatory diseases.


“Decades of lifesaving medical advances have perhaps lulled people into believing that we’ve beaten heart and circulatory diseases when nothing could be further from the truth.


“These potentially deadly or life-limiting conditions continue to rob families of loved ones or blight the lives of people facing a future with an incurable disease.


“With this campaign we want to shine a spotlight on heart and circulatory diseases and help people understand that everyone can be affected.


“By funding groundbreaking research, we can get a step closer to breakthroughs that that can save outsmart heart disease for good.”


This September, the BHF is shining a spotlight on hidden heart conditions and urging the whole of the UK to get involved by supporting the charity however they can. Stories, stuff, time, or money: whatever you can give, please give. Visit: https://spotlighton.bhf.org.uk/

Listen to the Radio BGM Interview with Adam Fletcher



Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online Thank you for supporting independent journalism and contributing to the future of local news in Carmarthenshire. Carmarthenshire News Online has been dedicated to providing unbiased and trustworthy news, free from commercial or political influence. By donating as little as £1, you can help ensure the continuation of this important source of information for the community. Your contribution will have a significant impact on the sustainability of independent journalism. If you're looking to enhance your brand's visibility, we also offer advertising opportunities on our Livestream and podcasts. Our special offers provide excellent value for reaching our engaged audience. To learn more about these opportunities and to discuss your advertising needs, please feel free to call or text us at 07308598604. Thank you again for your support, and together we can ensure the availability of quality local news for Carmarthenshire and beyond.

Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online

You cannot copy any content of this page