CVD is the leading cause of premature death and disability in England. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)


BRITONS are being encouraged to know their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers as well as they know their PIN numbers as part of a government drive to cut 150,000 heart attack, stroke and dementia cases over the next decade.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke, and health officials said knowing these numbers could flag up signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

CVD is the leading cause of premature death and disability in England, causing a death every four minutes.

Public Health England and NHS England are both leading a coalition of more than 40 organisations to step up fight against atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Currently, 57 per cent of patients with high blood pressure have been detected, but NHS England and Public Health England want to raise this to 80 per cent by 2029.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “Know your numbers and save your life. We know our PIN numbers, but not the numbers that save our lives.

“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.”

People aged between 40 and 74 are also being urged to get their free NHS Health Check, which helps detect the early warning signs of cardiovascular disease.

Prevention is at the heart of the campaign, which also aims to reduce the health inequalities associated with CVD.

People in the most deprived communities are four-times more likely to die prematurely from CVD than those in the least deprived, according to Public Health England and NHS England.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “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 NHS Long Term Plan has a target to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and cases of dementia within 10 years. By coming together across the system to agree these ambitions, we have set the goal posts for how we will achieve this target and continue our fight against the nation’s biggest killer.”