Press release: Coronary Heart Disease

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Coronary Heart Disease still the second leading cause of mortality in the UK

Key factors include smoking, air pollution, salt intake, lack of exercise and obesity

Embargo: 7pm, Tues 10 Jan

We would like to invite you to a lecture on Coronary Heart Disease (ischaemic heart disease) by Professor Chris Whitty, Visiting Professor of Public Health at Gresham College on Tuesday 10 Jan 2023, at 6pm (hybrid lecture).

In the lecture Whitty, who is Chief Medical Officer for England, will discuss what is the second leading cause of recorded mortality in the UK and the most common worldwide; he will talk about why the heart fails or stops, and individual and public health measures that would reduce deaths.

“Although heart and circulatory disease still cause around a quarter of deaths, this is a major improvement since the early 1960s when it caused about half of deaths in the UK. At that point it substantially exceeded deaths from all cancers and infectious diseases,” Whitty will say.

He divides the improvements we have seen into three areas, all driven by science. The first is primary prevention where we reduce risk factors for the whole of society. The second is secondary prevention where people with early disease or risk factors like hypertension or high cholesterol are treated. The third is better treatment in people with established disease including emergencies such as heart attacks.

In his lecture Whitty will say, “Smoking is the most avoidable cause of premature mortality from heart and circulatory disease. It drives a lot of the difference between the areas of the UK with the highest mortality from heart disease and the lowest, especially in younger people. Caused entirely by a small number of companies making massive profits by addicting people at the youngest possible age, the heart disease caused by smoking is essentially entirely preventable. Improvements in heart disease are often very rapid when smoking reduces. Bans on smoking in public places were followed by a significant reduction in coronary admissions, often within weeks.”

He will also talk about the significant impact of air pollution on cardiovascular disease,  about exercise, high blood pressure caused by high levels of salt in the diet, and obesity and how primary prevention can reduce this.

He will then cover secondary prevention in hypertension and high cholesterol and the drugs used to achieve that.

He will additionally outline the treatment of symptomatic coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction (heart attacks).


Notes to Editors

You can sign up to watch the hybrid lecture online or in person below; or email us for an embargoed transcript or speak to Professor Chris Whitty: / 07799 738 439

Read more about Professor Christ Whitty