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14 May 2019

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has pointed to increasing rates of diabetes and obesity as partly responsible for the rise in heart disease deaths in the United Kingdom.

New figures show that deaths from heart and circulatory diseases of people under 75 are on the rise in the country for the first time in 50 years.

In 2017 there were 42,384 deaths in under-75s from heart and circulatory conditions, which is up from 41,042 in 2014.

BHF said the fast pace of progress in reducing these deaths has slowed to a “near standstill” in recent times.

The NGO’s report shows that while more than 14 million adults have high blood pressure, almost five million do not know it because they have yet to be diagnosed. About 15 million, or one in every four, adults in the UK is obese.

Over the last five years the UK has seen an 18 per cent increase in people diagnosed with diabetes, according to the report. Circulatory diseases, which include stroke and diseases of the arteries, are also on the rise.

BBC News reported the BHF saying that a slowdown in the rate of improvement in death rates combined with a growing population is partly to blame for the reversal the UK is now seeing.

Between 2012 and 2017, the premature death rates for heart and circulatory disease in the UK fell by just 9 per cent, compared with a fall of 25 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

“In the UK we’ve made phenomenal progress in reducing the number of people who die of a heart attack or stroke,” Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the BHF, told the BBC.

“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 government, 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.”

Historically, the UK has made great strides at treating and preventing heart disease, thanks to better prevention – getting more people to stop smoking, for example – and new treatments, the BBC reports.


Published: 14 May 2019