03:47am Saturday 16 December 2017

More of us living longer but the burden of heart failure continues to rise

Elderly couple at home

Life expectancy at birth for men has risen to 78.2 years whilst for a woman it has risen to 82.3 years.

Twenty years ago the life expectancy for men was 73 years, whilst for women it was 79 years. However, whilst medical advances have meant that more of us survive life-threatening conditions or illnesses, there are also more people living with long-term health conditions like heart failure.

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, said: “It is great news for everyone that we’re continuing to live longer, but for some of us it means living with a debilitating health condition like heart failure.

“The condition is often caused by a heart attack and means the heart can no longer pump properly. It’s one of the leading causes of disability leaving some patients housebound and fighting for breath, even making getting out of bed or eating a meal incredibly difficult.”

 

If we can get the money, we could be funding trials with heart failure patients in as little as five years

The number of people with heart failure has risen relentlessly over the last 50 years. In 1961, an estimated 100,000 people had heart failure. But an ageing population coupled with the fact more people survive heart attacks there are now more than 750,000 people living with heart failure in the UK.

However, we think that in as little as 10 years we could see new treatments which mean the damage caused to the heart by the disease could be repaired. That’s why we’ve launched the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, a £50 million campaign to fund a programme of regenerative medicine to find a cure.

Dr Knapton added: “Right now, the human heart can’t heal itself – so once your heart is damaged, it stays that way. But we need to spend £50 million on research to repair damaged hearts. If we can get the money, we could be funding trials with heart failure patients in as little as five years.”

To find out how you can support our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, call 0300 333 0333 or order an appeal pack.


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