I really do hate my job. I hate it because of what heart disease does to people. And it’s that hate that drives me on to work all hours – to find new treatments, to make lives a little better.
All I want is for the people I treat to have an equal chance at surviving a heart attack.
I am a Professor now, but I was just a junior doctor when I realised the sheer enormity of cardiovascular disease. Stroke, angina, heart disease, heart attack, heart failure – there are just so many people blighted by it. There are 2.3 million people living with coronary heart disease in the UK.
When I first started working in medicine, the people I saw were young, and their heart attacks were, more often than not, fatal. Even my own dad had a pacemaker fitted, after a series of blackouts.
Things are different now. More people than ever are surviving a heart attack. But for some of them, surviving is all they’re doing. Especially those who go on to develop severe heart failure, a massively debilitating condition which I see every week in my clinic. Patients like Bronnach.
My work focuses on two things: heart failure, and the impact of cardiovascular disease on people with type 2 diabetes.
Why diabetes? Because despite all the improvements we’ve made in medicine and all the innovations we’ve had in surgery, people with type 2 diabetes are three times more likely to die from a heart attack, and they don’t respond nearly as well to treatment for heart failure.
So that’s why I hate heart disease. It’s the sheer inequality of it.
All I want is for the people I treat to have an equal chance of surviving a heart attack.
When they do make it, all I want is for them to have an equal chance of responding to the drugs and treatments that help them manage their heart failure.
So I’ll keep on working until they do.
With your help, my work and the work of people like me will stamp out heart disease wherever it’s found.
Heart disease shatters too many lives. With your donations the British Heart Foundation can fund more research and make a real difference to every person living with heart disease.