Why do more people die from coronary heart disease in the winter?

Explaining excess winter mortality from CHD: analysis of UK-based prospective studies

Richard Morris (lead researcher)

University College London

Start date: 01 March 2014 (Duration 2 years)

In the UK, millions of people are living with coronary heart disease (CHD) and older people die in winter from CHD more than any other time of year. We don’t know why cold weather affects heart disease, but haemostasis – the process that controls blood clotting – could be important. Scientists know that levels of three proteins involved in haemostasis (called von Willebrand Factor, D-Dimer and tissue plasminogen activator) are associated with coronary heart disease and increase in the body during winter.

Professor Richard Morris and colleagues have now been awarded a grant to study data collected from two large studies over ten years – the British Regional Heart Study and the PROSPER study. They will look for factors which could be responsible for the higher levels of CHD in winter by comparing amounts of the haemostatic proteins measured in blood samples, lifestyle choices, housing and heating facilities, and daily temperatures where these participants lived. Understanding which groups of people are most at risk of dying from heart disease in winter, and what factors are responsible, will help doctors recommend ways to prevent this from happening.

Project details

Grant amount £154,535
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 March 2014
Duration 2 years
Reference PG/13/41/30304
Status Complete

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