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Heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK, bar none.

It is a sobering fact that, each year in the UK, a quarter of all deaths are caused by heart and circulatory disease, that equates to approximately 167,000 people every year.

Around twice as many people are living with heart and circulatory diseases than with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

What if I were to tell you that up to 90% of all heart disease is potentially preventable![1]. This little-known fact should revolutionise the way we view coronary heart disease. But does it?

We all know that some heart disease could have been avoided. For some patients, it is their lifestyle choices that have caused them to be unwell. They have had a poor diet made up largely of bad fats and sugary foods, they haven’t exercised, and they may have smoked. Or they may have inherited genetic conditions that have led to heart disease.

But what about those people who have lived a healthy life but still suffer. Why do approximately 44,000 people die prematurely, every year from heart disease? Prematurely being under the age of 75.

When someone has a heart attack it is because of a build-up of plaque on the wall of the artery (or arteries) around the heart. Plaque can then rupture creating a surface on which a blood clot forms, this can then cause the artery to become blocked and blood cannot flow to the heart, resulting in an attack and in up to 40% of cases sudden death.

Dr Scott Murray spent years working as an interventional cardiologist, putting stents into blocked arteries. These would often be emergency lifesaving procedures performed in the middle of the night. Many patients however don’t even make it to the hospital or ultimately survive their first attack. He began to understand that the biggest benefit to patients would be putting all the effort into preventing the heart attack in the first place.

How can we detect early-stage plaque development and how can we prevent its development? One of the key ways to find plaque is using a CT coronary angiogram or using a CT calcium score.

If you are concerned about the health of your heart, even if you are not experiencing symptoms, we would recommend making an appointment with one of our consultant cardiologists. They will be able to recommend the best heart tests for you and can give you the peace of mind you need.

If you would like more information on how lifestyle factors can prevent heart disease click here – Lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on heart disease

For more information on hereditary conditions click here – Heart disease: does it run in the family?

To read more about plaque and how to reduce your risk of sustaining a heart attack click here – How can you stop the build up of heart plaques in their tracks?

In a world with limitless opinions and ‘expert’ advice, Venturi provides trustworthy and authoritative expertise.


  1. Yusuf S, Hawken S, Öunpuu S et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study.

Lancet. 2004; 364: 937-952