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UK suffering from ‘chronic’ lack of awareness of heart health

Cigna research suggests too many people are in the dark

The UK is suffering from a “chronic” lack of awareness when it comes to detecting and addressing heart health problems and symptoms, research suggests.

Cigna’s 360 Well-being Survey 2019 shows that Britain is the worst-performing nation with less than four in 10 Brits knowing their blood pressure rating (37% compared to the global average of 66%).

The UK also performed poorly with regards to Body Mass Index (BMI), with less than a third of Brits knowing their BMI number (32% against a global average of 51%) – only above Canada (27%) and Korea (30%).

The survey of more than 13,000 people across 22 different countries shows that while more than one in six Brits (16%) have experienced symptoms of heart problems in the past six months, more than a quarter (28%) have not done anything to alleviate those symptoms. Seventeen per cent of millennials had experienced symptoms of heart problems, more than any other demographic in the UK apart from over-50s.

Phil Austin, CEO of Cigna Europe, said the research “paints a worrying picture for the UK”.

He said: “The country’s poor ranking for BMI and blood pressure awareness – two key measures for tracking heart health – as well the lack of concern for heart health in later life, means we could be sleep walking into an epidemic of cardiovascular disease.

“More than a quarter of deaths in the UK are caused by heart and circulatory disease, so it’s important for companies to do all they can to help employees understand the importance of managing their heart health and help them better understand the early warning signs of poor heart health. Through making more information available to employees, employers can make a real difference to their employees’ lives and improve the state of the nation’s heart health.”