NHS at its best

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OF the many dramatic advances in medicine in the last 40 years, one of the greatest is surely the huge stride made in treating heart disease.

Back in the 1970s, there were few treatments for those with heart problems. Nowadays advances in diagnosis, drugs and surgical techniques have significantly cut the death toll and, importantly, eased the debilitating and disabling symptoms for the estimated 2.6 million people in the UK who are affected by heart ailments.

The latest advance announced today by experts in Yorkshire recommending harnessing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to assess heart disease seems set to further improve the outlook for patients.

Heart problems already cost the NHS a staggering £9bn a year, a figure that will rise significantly in future. Partly this is due to an ageing population but of most concern is that many younger people are putting themselves at higher risk, hence the obesity epidemic.

Many are surviving longer and with a better quality of life with heart disease – but it is time more people took responsibility for their own health to prevent problems developing in the first place.