Is heart health affecting your business?

Is heart health affecting your business?

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are some 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK - and it’s the cause of a quarter of all deaths every year.

Heart health is huge - and it has an effect not just on patients and their families, but on businesses too.  According to government figures, yearly healthcare costs in England relating to cardiovascular disease are estimated at £10 billion, with an annual cost to the wider economy of £25 billion.

People dealing with heart problems will clearly need to take time out of work for hospital appointments and recovery, and may need to have duties or hours reduced. Sickness absence, lost productivity and business continuity all add up.

So what can businesses do to help?

  1. Encourage heart-healthy habits
    The best things people can do to look after their hearts are all the things we know we should be doing anyway – eating healthier, moving more, and reducing alcohol and tobacco.There are plenty of things businesses can do as part of their health and wellbeing strategies to support people to do all of those things – from providing healthy snacks to encouraging lunch breaks, creating walking/running/cycling challenges for charity, or providing stop smoking support and signposting.
  2. Tackle stress
    Stress can have an impact on heart health, largely because it can drive unhealthy habits - like smoking, drinking and eating sugary foods.According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Tackling mental health can impact physical health – and it’s been an increasing priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes since the pandemic.If you don’t already have an EAP, or if you’re finding take-up particularly low, Equipsme’s stress support line is just £1.50 per person per month, an addition worth considering at your next renewal.
  3. Know your numbers
    While we know some of the factors that can contribute to heart disease, the fact is you can’t tell who is at risk just by looking at them. It’s why it’s so important to encourage people to be proactive about their health, and know their numbers. That includes things like their blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.  Through their Equipsme plan your members have access to Thriva home health checks, including cholesterol levels, and a 20% discount on extra tests. They can also get 25% of a full, in-person Nuffield health check, too.
  4. Be prepared
    Most businesses will have policies in place to deal with chronic illnesses, sick leave and return to work accommodations. But many won’t be prepared for a heart health emergency on their premises.It’s well worth making people aware of stroke and heart attack symptoms, offering company-wide CPR training, keeping your first aiders up-to-date, and either knowing where your nearest defibrillator is, or getting one installed.
  5. Remind people about the Equipsme GP service
    The symptoms of heart problems can range from mild breathlessness and fatigue to a racing heart, chest pain, arm, jaw and back pain. It’s incredibly important to create a culture where people feel okay to take time off to see someone – even for something they might not immediately class as urgent.With 4 in 10 people struggling to find an appointment at their own surgery, being able to get one 24/7 through Equipsme at a convenient time might possibly help.What’s more, our GP service can write open referral letters that can open up the path to private diagnosis faster. Your employee members can also pay for a private prescription to be delivered or picked up from a local pharmacy.
  6. Use the heart health support line
    If people are worried about their own heart, about a family member with heart problems, if they’re preparing for or recovering from surgery, our nurse support line can help. It includes a team of dedicated heart-health experts, and they’re on hand to talk through any questions, explain procedures and jargon, and offer advice and guidance.

Other useful resources:

Holly gets her heart fixed with Equipsme
How to keep your heart healthy
Why employers should care about cholesterol
How do I lower my cholesterol?
What do blood pressure numbers mean?