BHF estimates half a million people in the UK could be of risk of sudden death
The British Heart Foundation has estimated that approximately 620,000 people in the UK are potentially carrying a faulty gene that puts them at high risk sudden death, but the foundation warns majority of carriers are unaware.
The charity also noted that an accurate figure could be much higher due to under diagnosis and undiscovered faulty genes, which can raise the risk of suffering potentially fatal conditions.
These conditions can affect people of any age and can be inherited, although many families often find the first sign of a fatal condition when someone dies suddenly from a cardiac arrest or heart attack with no obvious source or explanation.
“If undetected and untreated, inherited heart conditions, can be deadly and they continue to devastate families, often by taking away loved ones without warning,” said British Heart Foundation medical director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani.
Every week approximately 12 seeming healthy people in the UK aged 35 or under are victims of sudden cardiac death with no explanation, mainly due to inherited conditions.
The BHF has funded research that helped identify many of the faulty genes behind inherited heart conditions, which has led to the development of genetic testing services for those at highest risk for some of them, but more research is urgently needed for improved detection methods and treatment, the charity noted.
“We urgently need to fund more research to better understand these heart conditions, make more discoveries, develop new treatments and save more lives,” said Prof Samani.