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The Hearty Truth – UK Amongst The Worst In The World For Heart Health Awareness

In The iPMI Picture: Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer, Cigna Europe. In The iPMI Picture: Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer, Cigna Europe.

Research shows one in six people have experienced heart problem symptoms in the past six months, yet only half (53%) know what signs to look out for.

The UK is suffering from a chronic lack of awareness with regards to detecting and addressing heart health problems and symptoms, new research from Cigna Europe reveals.

According to Cigna’s 360 Well-being Survey 2019, which surveyed more than 13,000 people across 22 different countries, Britain is the worst performing nation with less than four in 10 Brits knowing their blood pressure rating (37% vs 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% vs global average of 51%) – only above Canada (27%) and Korea (30%). Both measures are crucial to monitoring heart health and spotting the early warning signs of cardiovascular disease.

And, if the UK’s lack of awareness wasn’t concerning enough, more than one in six Brits (16%) have experienced symptoms of heart problems in the past six months, and more than a quarter (28%) haven’t done anything to alleviate those symptoms. Alarmingly, 17% of millennials had experienced symptoms of heart problems, more than any other demographic in the UK apart from over 50s.

Despite more than seven million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, just under three quarters of UK respondents (73%) are not concerned with heart disease at old age.

Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer – Cigna Europe, said, “This research paints a worrying picture for the UK. 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.

“Cigna is committed to helping businesses identify and treat issues as early as possible. This is why we recently launched a dedicated preventive benefit in our health plans for SMEs, which recognises the importance that early awareness of potential health risks has on preventing more serious conditions from developing. The benefits can help pay for face-to-face health assessments and specified cancer screening.”

According to the survey, only one in every two Brits (53%) have an awareness of heart problem symptoms. Young people (those aged between 18 to 35) are most aware (61%), whereas those aged 50+ have a better knowledge of more symptoms. Key symptoms of heart problems include: pain/discomfort in chest, shortness of breath, light-headedness/dizziness, pain/discomfort in arms and shoulders, jaw neck & back pain.

To help people better monitor their heart health, Cigna Europe has outlined its top five methods that people who have experienced heart problem symptoms have taken to manage these symptoms. These are:

  1. Exercise more regularly
  2. Seek help from a GP
  3. Lose weight
  4. Eat a balanced diet
  5. Reduce stress

To read the full report, please visit: 2019 Cigna 360° Well-Being Survey - Well and Beyond.

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