A better future for people with heart disease

1 May 2020

HEART UK ambassador Yvonne owes her life to a radio programme 35 years ago.

Yvonne

“When my daughter was just a baby, I was doing the ironing, when I was stopped in my tracks,” says Yvonne. “I suddenly realised that the heart disease they were describing on the radio was in my own family.”

The programme was about how Nobel prize winners discovered a genetic cause of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, a condition present from birth that can often lead to fatal heart attacks if left untreated. “My father died aged 52, my grandmother at 60, four aunts and uncles all died prematurely, one aged 43, and all from heart attacks” says Yvonne.   

As a young mother, Yvonne quickly made an appointment to see her GP, who diagnosed her with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia and gave her medication for the condition.

With HEART UK’s support and guidance, Yvonne has managed her condition and is enjoying a very healthy and active life.  Yvonne says, “HEART UK has been, and always will be, a very important part of my life.”

Shaping the future

“I am passionate about raising awareness and supporting the good work that HEART UK does. It’s estimated that up to 260,000 people in the UK have Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, but fewer than 10 per cent have been diagnosed,” says Yvonne. “I want to see a future when nobody need die prematurely from this disease and it’s my wish to help in any way I can to achieve this.”

Yvonne felt so determined to raise awareness about the condition, that she went on to become a founding member of The Family Heart Association, which later formed HEART UK.

Supporting people through Covid-19

Yvonne says, “I really value the support HEART UK offers. In these difficult times, they have worked so hard to keep me, and others like me, informed with updates, webinars and social media content, which I can share to help raise awareness.

“It’s important for me to stay updated about new findings related to my condition and their regular newsletters are so informative. I’m particularly impressed with the information on their website about Covid-19 and the speed at which they reacted to this current situation.” 

Supporting the UK’s health service

With many resources diverted to tackling Covid-19, the NHS are currently struggling to support people with non-life-threatening heart conditions. Thankfully, HEART UK are stepping up to fill the void. They’re offering offering specialist online information, support and telephone counselling to patients who are at high risk from Covid-19, including people with rare lipid conditions and those with heart disease.

The charity are also supporting GPs with their remote consultations by providing online resources that advise patients on how to minimise their risk during this period.  “The most important thing is for patients to know we are here to support them through this challenging time,” says Jules Payne, CEO of HEART UK.

Find out more

For more information about HEART UK please visit www.heartuk.org.uk.

HEART UK’s fundraising has been impacted by coronavirus. A number of our fundraising events have been cancelled due to social distancing measures. While this is hugely disappointing, many of you have asked how you can continue to support us at this time. The simplest way to do this, and only if you are able, is by making a donation