Health – physical and mental – is one of the nation’s least favourite topics of conversation. In fact, people actively avoid talking about it.

According to YouGov research, over a quarter of us find going to see a health professional about a medical issue overwhelming. Almost a fifth (18%) say that their medical health is the subject they feel most uncomfortable asking a question about.

Despite this, the benefits of being proactive about our wellbeing and asking questions as and when we need to are undeniable. Asking medical questions can improve your general health and care – your health depends on good communication and quality healthcare is a team effort.

This National Conversation Week, Steve Haw, director and trustee of Vital Signs Foundation (VSF), shares his story and explains why sometimes when it comes to health – questions can be the answer.

“The power of proactivity sits at the very heart of the Foundation. We’re a small charity making a massive difference in identifying previously undiagnosed heart defects, potentially saving lives in young people aged 16 – 35 from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).”

Steve launched Vital Signs in 2010, four years after his Son, Chris, passed away suddenly due to a SCA. Since then, the charity has provided over 3,000 young people with potentially life-saving free heart screenings.

Steve continued: “It costs VSF £3,000 to deliver a professional, non-invasive and pain-free heart screening. The first symptom of an undetected heart problem is usually death and devastatingly, an average of 12 fit and healthy young people die each week.

“A simple screening could dramatically reduce this number and provide reassurance in place of the devastation that bereavement causes to family and friends. A screening is the ideal opportunity to get ahead of your heart health and detect the need for potential treatment or lifestyle changes that could prolong or save your life.”

Over the course of 35 screening events held across the North West, Vital Signs has discovered that 19 people had life-threatening heart conditions that they were completely unaware of.

“Undiagnosed heart conditions often bear no symptoms and occur in those that are at the peak of their lives. However, the simple act of walking into a cold shower, hearing the doorbell ring or playing sport can be enough of a shock to the heart to cause death.

“I’d urge all young people to seek out any opportunities to be proactive about their health – whether that’s through screenings, asking questions or delving into family history.”

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