DAVID SEAMAN and over 200 supporters came together to shine a spotlight on hidden heart disease and its impact on the nation.
One hundred and eighty seats forming a giant heart were left empty in a packed stand at Crystal Palace to represent the number of deaths lost to coronary heart disease each day in Britain – one every eight minutes.
The former England goalkeeper, who lives with a heart condition, took center stage in the powerful image in support of the British Heart Foundation’s Spotlight On campaign, which raises awareness of hidden heart conditions ahead of World Heart Day on Friday 29 September.
The charity has urged people to share their stories of living with heart disease and raise money for life-saving research by donating or fundraising through its JustGiving website.
A survey commissioned by the charity found that over a third (36 per cent) of Brits did not know that coronary heart disease, the most common cause of heart attacks, is one of the top three causes of death in the UK.
Almost a quarter (23 percent) did not know that you can have heart disease without experiencing physical symptoms.
And although 88 percent are concerned about the risk of heart disease, 85 percent could not identify all the factors that can lead to heart disease – including smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.
What is worrying is that for 23 percent it is also a taboo topic to talk about serious illnesses such as heart disease.
For many who quote it, it can lead to an unpleasant conversation (40 percent) because they don’t want to hear anything that would worry them (35 percent) and because they don’t want to offend or worry anyone (32 percent).
Seaman, who lives with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (AF), said: “Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and the worst thing is that you often don’t realize you have a problem until it’s too late.”
“Over 200 people gave up their time to support this campaign and every available spot represents a lost fan, a lost heart, an unfinished ending – it was a very poignant moment to be part of.
“For the football community and beyond, the British Heart Foundation’s life-saving research gives hope to those affected by heart disease.
“By shining a spotlight on heart disease this September, we can shine a spotlight on hidden heart conditions and fund research breakthroughs to prevent more families from having to live with the gaping hole left by the loss of a loved one.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, at least 7.6 million people in the UK live with heart or circulatory disease and these conditions account for a quarter of all deaths.
The heart charity says heart disease can affect anyone at any age and many conditions often go undiagnosed for too long until something goes wrong or it is too late.
David Seaman spoke to supporters who attended the event and have been directly affected by hidden heart disease, including YouTuber Casey Barker.
Casey said: “I wanted to get involved and help raise awareness as I suffered a heart attack nine months ago which was a real shock.
“When I arrived at the hospital, at first no one could believe that I had a heart attack at the age of 27.
“I wanted to get involved here to raise awareness of the impact heart disease can have and to support the work of the British Heart Foundation in fighting for a different outcome for people affected by these conditions .”
Dr. Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This powerful image of a heart-shaped hole illustrates the tragic loss that families across the UK suffer every day due to coronary heart disease.”
“The lives of our loved ones are often affected too early by hidden heart disease and this needs to change.
“That’s why we’re shining a spotlight on these diseases to raise awareness of them and fund groundbreaking research that could save and improve more lives.
Read more at the Scottish Sun
“We urgently need more support and whatever you can give will help turn the tables on heart disease for good.”
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