One in four people has said it took someone they know to have a heart attack for them to take their heart health more seriously, research has found.
The study from Bupa of 1,000 UK adults showed that over half of those surveyed (51%) admitted they're worried about getting heart disease.
Despite this 44% say they would need to have a health scare and a third (32%) said a personal illness to make them think about living a healthier heart lifestyle.
The average person also admitted they didn't or wouldn't start taking their heart health seriously until their 40s.
Interestingly, a further one in eight (13%) people were prompted to think about their heart health when someone they knew was diagnosed with high cholesterol. One in 10 (11%) said they were prompted to take better care of themselves when they had children.
The research also said while eight in 10 (80%) people said they're not confident of the signs of heart disease, there appears to be "some confusion" about the information available.
A quarter (25%) of people said there isn't enough information out there while a fifth of respondents (18%) believed there's too much information. A third (33%) of respondents admitted most people just don't want to know.
Meanwhile only a quarter (26%) knew their cholesterol level, just 37% knew their blood pressure reading and 4 in 10 (42%) were able to give their BMI.
Those aged between 18 to 24 are the least knowledgeable about their heart health. Nine in ten (91%) did not know their cholesterol levels and three quarters (79%) did not know their blood pressure.
Dr Steven Luttrell, medical director at Bupa said: "Coronary heart disease is the biggest cause of death in the UK causing almost 74,000 deaths every year. With nearly 2.3 million people in the UK living with heart disease, people need to be more aware of the risk factors associated with the disease.
"People can't afford to wait until they face a health scare to take action. We can all take active steps now to reduce our future risk of heart disease."
The annual cost of treating coronary heart disease in the UK is nearly £2 billion, Bupa's research found.
Coronary Heart Disease is UK's biggest killer with 74,000 deaths every year and 2.3 million Britain's living with heart disease, according to figures from the British Heart Foundation.