About Love Your Heart

Love Your Heart is a new, interactive online video programme that has been developed to help those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) understand why they are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the impact RA can have on the most important organ - the heart!

The interactive online video programme has been developed in partnership with consultant rheumatologist, Dr. Holly John. This follows extremely promising results that it achieved in a face-to-face group setting. Working with interactive video producer, Streaming Well, NRAS is making this programme widely available to everyone with RA (or inflammatory arthritis) so that they have the opportunity to find out why they are at increased risk of CVD and provide tools to help them lower their own individual CVD risk.

Dr. John, Consultant Rheumatologist commented:

The increased risk of CVD for RA sufferers has the same level of severity as those who suffer with type 2 diabetes. It’s astonishing how many people with RA don't know that their condition could be detrimental to their heart. Once aware, it’s very easy to manage risk factors that are within their control from home with a healthier lifestyle, so Love Your Heart will be able to significantly raise awareness of this and help to address this major co-morbidity which can shorten the lives of those with RA.

The online interactive video programme will be available for people to register for, free of charge, from 10 am on St. Valentine’s Day, 14th February, 2018. It is an engaging and educational platform that allows users with RA to:

  • understand the reasons why RA increases risk of CVD or heart conditions. You will hear from people with RA who have done this programme in a face-to-face format and benefitted from it
  • complete a QRISK®2 assessment - a GP-recognised prediction algorithm for CVD.
  • learn how to reduce risk of CVD. The programme features high quality videos from medical experts on exercise, nutrition and stopping smoking amongst other topics.
  • set goals and mitigate the risks associated with your condition. Moreover, it sends you all the information automatically via email so that you can keep track!

Ailsa Bosworth, Founder of NRAS said:

In spite of the numbers of people with RA in the UK (>400,000) it does not have the public awareness of diseases such as Parkinson’s (127,000) and Multiple Sclerosis (100,000). It is still a relatively misunderstood and invisible disease. Getting to a diagnosis can therefore often be challenging as people don’t recognise the symptoms as a medical emergency. Equally, the increased risk of CVD is relatively unknown and so I’m really excited to have worked with Dr. John and hope that the Love your Heart programme will help all those with RA, like myself, to lead a longer and healthier life by addressing those risk factors that are within our own control. To sign up and start using the Love Your Heart programme, users must visit www.nras.org.uk/loveyourheart 

Currently CVD accounts for just over a quarter of deaths in Britain and costs the economy billions in healthcare. Bosworth is hoping that NRAS’ Love Your Heart programme will have a real impact on helping to reduce the risk of CVD in people with RA, she added: “We’re the first charity in our field to offer something like this. It is unique in that it not only provides patient education, but it also provides a goal setting structure through which patients can change their behaviour. The data from this programme will also significantly help rheumatologists and GPs, and will become a referral platform when people are diagnosed. This illustrates what can be achieved when patient-led charity organisations work alongside healthcare professionals and we are hugely excited by its potential.”

Case study

Patient who participated in the face-to-face Love Your Heart programme with Dr. John said:

Before I did this programme, I thought that I was doing pretty well in terms of diet and exercise but it showed me that there was a lot I wasn’t aware of, that my knowledge of lifestyle factors wasn’t adequate and I needed to do more to help myself. I found it a valuable and life-changing experience to do this programme.