Heart and circulatory disease account for more than 161,000 deaths each year according to British Heart Foundation. Often, it is only when people are seriously ill that it becomes apparent they are suffering from increased blood pressure or heart disease.

While heart disease and high blood pressure are difficult to diagnose before symptoms arise, there are ways for medical experts to anticipate the risk to an individual, as well as methods of monitoring those at risk, to help better protect them.

Drug treatment and lifestyle guidance may be offered to those considered high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. And while high blood pressure is easily diagnosed with a basic blood pressure check, a series of high readings will need to be carried out to confirm diagnosis. The condition cannot be cured but can be managed through adopting a healthy lifestyle or, in more serious cases, through the prescription of medication.

In instances where symptoms are not properly addressed by medical staff, or insufficient observation is provided to a patient, there may be a case for clinical negligence.

Linda Millband, joint head of clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, said:

"Heart disease is one of Britain's biggest killers and yet, in many cases, there are no symptoms before someone becomes seriously unwell.

"Heart disease and increased blood pressure are, of course, difficult to identify, however it is important that those who do experience symptoms are properly monitored to give them the best chance of survival.

"At Thompsons, we have helped a number of clients seek justice for the negligence of medical staff, in cases where conditions or symptoms have been largely ignored, poorly monitored, or remained untreated, resulting in serious injuries or in tragic cases, death."