Number of under-75s dying from heart disease rises for first time in 50 years
Deaths from heart attacks and strokes in under-75s have increased for the first time in half a century.
Improvements in heart and circulatory disease mortality rates have slowed as the UK population gets older and fatter, analysis shows.
The proportion of younger people who are dying from these causes is rising. Deaths of those aged under 75 now account for almost a third of the total, a British Heart Foundation report found.
Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of deaths in Britain and kill 420 people on average a day. It was highlighted as a major priority in NHS England’s much anticipated Long Term Plan.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the BHF, said: “We had made phenomenal progress in reducing the number of people who die of a heart attack or stroke. We are deeply concerned by this reversal.
“We’re seeing more people die each year before their 75th, or even 65th, birthday. Millions are at risk because of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.”
Latest available data shows 42,384 people aged under 75 suffered deaths caused by heart and circulatory disease during 2017, up from 41,042 during 2014.
Deaths in under 65s is increasing with 18,668 in 2017, up from 17,982 five years earlier.
The pace of reducing death rates “has slowed to a near standstill”. Until recently, rates had fallen by 75% since 1971.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Obesity is driving the number of people dying younger. Decades of inaction has led to this.”
Dr Matt Kearney, cardiovascular director for NHS England, said: “BHF are right to point to the threat preventable risks like obesity pose.”
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