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Heart disease deaths increase for first time in 50 years

Published on 13/05/19 at 10:54am
Image Credit: Bryan Brandenburg

Deaths from heart disease among people under the age of 75 have increased for the first time in 50 years.

Figures show an increase in the number of deaths since 2014, with the total number of heart disease deaths increasing from 41,042 in 2014 to 42,384 in 2017.

Meanwhile the number of deaths caused by heart and circulatory diseases in under-65s increased from 17,982 in 2012 to 18,668 in 2017.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF): “A significant slowdown in the rate of improvement in death rates combined with a growing population is partly to blame. Between 2012 and 2017, the premature death rates for heart and circulatory disease in the UK fell by just 9%, compared to a fall of 25% in the five years before (2007-2012).”

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking and family history were all risk factors for heart disease.

While 14 million adults have high blood pressure nearly five million are yet to be diagnosed. Meanwhile 15 million adults – one in four – were obese. There has also been an 18% increase in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the past five years.

BHF Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, commented: “In the UK we’ve made phenomenal progress in reducing the number of people who die of a heart attack or stroke. But we’re seeing more people die each year from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK before they reach their 75th, or even 65th, birthday. We are deeply concerned by this reversal.”

“Heart and circulatory diseases remain a leading cause of death in the UK, with millions at risk because of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. We need to work in partnership with governments, the NHS and medical research community to increase research investment and accelerate innovative approaches to diagnose and support the millions of people at risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

“Only through the continued commitment of our researchers, the public’s generous support, and determination from governments can we 'shift the dial' and imagine a 2030 where fewer people live with the fear of heart and circulatory disease.”

Louis Goss

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