23 Jan 2023
Living with cardiovascular disease – Muz’s story
Meet Muz. He has cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a strong family history of CVD.
Here is Muz’s journey with CVD so far.
Back in 2011, Muz was suffering from a period of fatigue and tiredness. After being referred by his GP, clinicians found his blood LDL-cholesterol levels were very high. LDL-cholesterol is often called ‘bad cholesterol’, as too much of it can clog up arteries which can lead to problems such as CVD including heart attacks and strokes. Muz was put on statin treatment in 2011-2012, followed by the addition of ezetimibe in 2017-2018, to try and lower his blood cholesterol.
“I was taking my medication religiously, I was just following what my doctors were telling me, but at the same time the baseline blood tests were not going down – I mean even in some of my appointments when the doctor checked the results they were gradually creeping up, so it was quite worrying and stressful.”
Muz’s cholesterol levels remained high for a number of years, and in early 2022, he suffered a brain stroke.
To help prevent any further cardiovascular events, also known as secondary prevention of CVD, Muz was now eligible for injectable therapies to reduce his blood cholesterol levels, such as PCSK9 inhibitors and inclisiran.
Inclisiran is an innovative cholesterol-lowering treatment which uses RNA interference (RNAi) to boost the liver’s ability to remove harmful cholesterol from the blood. It can be given to people with high cholesterol who have already had a previous cardiovascular event to reduce the chances of them having another.
As inclisiran can be given to patients in primary care, along with their current cholesterol-lowering medication(s), as a twice-yearly injection, Muz and the specialist consultant managing his CVD decided inclisiran would be most appropriate for him.
“I was greatly relieved and happy when I heard about this inclisiran – it’s only three injections in the first year, and then two injections from the second year onwards.”
It took Muz a further three months to finally receive his first injection of inclisiran, due to workload pressures within the NHS, and a lack of awareness by the medical professionals and pharmacies about inclisiran.
“I was living in fear after having that stroke. My cholesterol level were still very high, and those three months were quite dark and stressful for me and my family. I kept thinking, what would happen if I had another stroke or a cardiac arrest? What would happen to me? What would happen to my family?”
. . .
Fast forward to December 2022 and the results are looking very positive so far. Muz has received two injections of inclisiran and he has already seen a significant reduction in his blood cholesterol levels.
“After having those two injections the results are quite phenomenal. It makes me feel really good, really positive, and I feel stronger from inside – and not only physically but mentally as well.”
The positive results from his treatment have improved not only Muz’s cholesterol levels, but his physical and mental wellbeing too. He is more energetic, more motivated, and feels empowered to take control of his CVD.
“It could be because my cholesterol levels are coming down, but I feel more energetic – I have started doing small simple exercises and I have started walking more… all those things are making me feel very proud, very strong. I’m just taking one injection at a time, and me and my family are feeling very hopeful for the future.”
We look forward to hearing how Muz progresses with his treatment and management of his CVD.
CVD prevention and management in Greater Manchester
The biggest area where the NHS can save lives over the next 10 years is in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is an ongoing programme of work across Greater Manchester to raise awareness and improve access to appropriate medicines, such as inclisiran, for patients with CVD.
Read more about how Health Innovation Manchester is supporting with the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease across Greater Manchester.