November 21, 2012

More must be done to keep heart patients warm in their homes

Elderly couple chopping vegetables in the kitchenCold homes which damage people’s health could be costing the NHS more than a billion pounds every year, according to a new report.

Age UK has today published its The Cost of Cold report to warn of the danger to public health posed by cold-related illnesses triggered by cold homes. The report notes there are around 27,000 excess winter deaths, most of them among older people and caused by heart attacks, stroke and respiratory problems.

The charity says the problem is costing the NHS in England £13.6 billion each year.

It’s very important people keep warm in their homes if they’re to stay healthy

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “Each winter, plummeting temperatures signal a difficult time for people living with heart disease in this country.

“Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure as your body tries to keep itself warm. The chances of a blood clot also increase as the blood becomes more sticky, which is why more people die from a heart attack or stroke during winter.

“It’s very important people keep warm in their homes if they’re to stay healthy when the cold weather bites, especially those with heart disease.

“Heart patients have told us first-hand about the financial, emotional and health problems they face when they get into difficulty paying their winter fuel bills. The Department of Health and Department of Work and Pensions need to explore how best to use the benefits system to help people stay warm.”