A heart charity has warned thousands of East Midlands residents could be at risk of developing coronary heart disease or sudden death as the result of a faulty gene.
An estimated 45,000 people in the East Midlands are carrying the gene that puts them at risk, according to new estimates from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Furthermore, BHF claims the majority of people affected are undiagnosed and unaware that they may be at risk of a deadly heart attack or cardiac arrest.
The charity warns the overall figure could be much higher due to underdiagnoses and undiscovered faulty genes which can increase a person’s risk of these potentially fatal conditions.
Inherited heart conditions can affect people of any age and each child of someone with an inherited heart condition can have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting it. For many families, the first sign there’s a problem is when someone dies suddenly with no obvious cause or explanation.
BHF-funded research has helped to discover many of the faulty genes that cause inherited heart conditions, which has led to the development of structured genetic testing services for those at highest risk. However, more research is needed to better detect and treat these conditions to stop the devastation brought to loved ones, who could also be at risk themselves.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHF, said: “The reality is that there are 45,000 of people across the East Midlands who are unaware that they could be at risk of sudden death.
“If undetected and untreated, inherited heart conditions, can be deadly and they continue to devastate families, often by taking away loved ones without warning.”
For further information and advice, see www.bhf.org.uk/unexpected