British Heart Week is observed from 7 to 15 June. The reason for this observation is to spread awareness about heart diseases and help people get the right treatment. The British Heart Foundation is U.K.’s heart charity that founded the British Heart Week. Heart diseases are one of the country’s leading diseases that is responsible for every 1 in 4 deaths. The week-long observation is also a tribute to the medical professionals for their continuous research of the heart.
History of British Heart Week
In 1961, heart diseases were the reason for more than half (51%) of the total deaths in the U.K. This is what led a group of medical professionals to establish the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the backbone of the British Heart Week, in the same year. The foundation aimed to fund resources for the research, treatment, and prevention of heart-related ailments.
It was also in 1961 that Dr. Aubrey Leatham implanted the first internal pacemaker in the U.K. The British Heart Foundation funded the research in 1963 to push the boundaries that have contributed a lot to the miniaturized and sophisticated pacemakers of today.
In 1968, surgeon Donald Ross performed the first heart transplant in the U.K. with the help of five-year funding provided by the British Heart Foundation for heart transplant surgeries. And today, an estimated 200 heart transplants are carried out every year. In 1976, it was BHF Professor Michael Davies who proved that the main reason for heart attacks is blood clots in the coronary artery. This set the stage for further research in life-saving treatment for heart attacks. 1986 to 1995 saw a decrease in heart-attack rates, which was also the result of clinical trials funded by the British Heart Foundation.
In 2004, the U.K. Department of Health commissioned the British Heart Foundation to run a campaign against smoking. This is what led to the 2007 smoke ban in enclosed public areas and places.
Today, the British Heart Foundation funds scientists placed at more than 50 research locations, across an estimated one thousand projects.
British Heart Week timeline
Dr. Desmond Julian, the pioneer of the coronary-care-unit concept, sets up the U.K.’s first coronary care unit.
Dr. Frank Pantridge uses a portable defibrillator in an ambulance for the first time after receiving a BHF grant.
BHF Professor Magdi Yacoub develops the ‘arterial switch’ procedure to treat babies whose arteries leaving their hearts are the wrong way round.
Harefield hospital has the U.K.’s first heart transplantation service established by BHF Professor Magdi Yacoub.
British Heart Week FAQs
Is the British Heart Foundation a good charity?
The British Heart Foundation is one of the leading foundations in the U.K. and around the world that provides funds for all research on heart- and circulatory diseases.
How does the British Heart Foundation raise money?
The British Heart Foundation raises its funds in a variety of ways, ranging from donations from supporters, people offering gifts, fundraising days like Beat It and Wear It, to challenge events like bike rides, and more.
Does the British Heart Foundation test on animals?
The British Heart Foundation funds research involving animals only when there are no feasible alternatives. To ensure animal research when necessary, the BHF encourages its researchers to plan their research in a way that as few animals as possible are required while continuing to look for alternative research methods. If tests on animals become necessary, the highest standards of animal welfare are applied.
How To Observe British Heart Week
Donate for the cause
Donate to the British Heart Foundation. The BHF has more than 8,000 collection locations across the country that accept clothing, vinyl, jewelry, and many more things that they sell on their eBay site.
Take part in an event
The British Heart Foundation organizes events like running, swimming, trekking, cycling, and more for raising funds. Take part in this and help BHF raise funds for further research.
Volunteer for a role
Volunteer at BHF to be a face of change. BHF has different roles that suit all lifestyles and can also help you make new friends and acquire new skills.
5 Facts About Heart Diseases In The U.K. That Will Blow Your Mind
The 1:4 ratio
In the U.K., heart and other circulatory diseases cost the life of one in four people.
World’s number one killer
According to the WHO, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, not just in the U.K. but also in the world.
One attack every five minutes
The U.K. admits 100,000 people to its hospitals every year due to heart attacks, which, on average, is one every five minutes.
Overall country count
The U.K. has an estimated 7.6 million people living with a heart- or any other circulatory disease.
In the U.K., more than 900,000 people are living with heart failure.
Why British Heart Week is Important
It acknowledges research
British Heart Week acknowledges the pioneering research and vital prevention activities carried out to prevent heart diseases. It honors the medical professionals who are striving towards heart disease prevention.
It celebrates a healthy heart
British Heart Week celebrates the importance of a healthy heart, the very source of human life. It stresses healthy habits that contribute towards having a healthy heart.
It raises and spreads awareness
British Heart Week spread awareness for the fight against both the U.K.'s and the world's number one killer, cardiovascular disease. It asks people to go for heart check-ups to avoid ailments.
British Heart Week dates