April 21, 2024
Health

Heart attack survivors are at greater risk of developing further health issues


Heart attack survivors have a higher risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes, vascular dementia and kidney disease, research shows.

The study of more than 430,000 people who had suffered a heart attack examined their risks for the subsequent decade.

Researchers from the University of Leeds looked at their health outcomes compared with a control group of two million people of the same age and sex who had not had a heart attack.

The research showed heart attacks significantly increased the risk of heart failure and irregular heart rhythms, by 393 per cent and 98 per cent respectively.

Survivors were also found to be at a 77 per cent greater risk of kidney failure with a 13 per cent greater risk of vascular dementia.

Studies have previously shown that heart problems can increase the risk of other conditions, because of extra pressure on other organs.

Healthier hearts are also linked to better brain health, with vascular dementia caused by poor blood flow to the brain.

‘Positive lifestyle changes’

The study found the most likely condition among heart attack survivors was heart failure at 29.6 per cent, compared with 9.8 per cent in the control group.

However, kidney failure developed in 27.2 per cent of heart attack survivors compared with 19.8 per cent of other patients.

New hospitalisation for diabetes was also higher at 17 per cent compared with 14.3 per cent among patients who had not had a heart attack.

The study, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Wellcome, analysed records of adults admitted to one NHS trust in England between Jan 1 2008 and Jan 31 2017.

 Dr Marlous Hall, lead author and the associate professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at Leeds’ School of Medicine, said there are “around 1.4 million” heart attack survivors in the UK at risk of “further serious health conditions”.

He believes that those who survive a heart attack should be given more information about the risks of other conditions to make lifestyle changes.

He said: “Effective communication of the likely course of disease and risk of adverse long-term outcomes between patients and healthcare professionals can promote positive lifestyle changes, encourage patients to stick to treatment and improve patient understanding and quality of life.”

The BHF estimates that 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with heart attacks every year in the UK. However, more than seven in 10 people now survive them.



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