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Heart disease biggest killer of men in England and Wales

A fifth of all avoidable deaths are due to heart disease

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Heart disease is the biggest cause of avoidable death for men in England and Wales while lung cancer kills the most women, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The overall rate of avoidable deaths has, however, fallen by 28% over the past 10 years from 243.2 people per 100,000 population to 175.8.

Avoidable mortality in England and Wales, 2011 statistical bulletin shows that in 2011, deaths from potentially avoidable causes accounted for approximately 24% of all deaths registered in England and Wales.

The leading cause of avoidable deaths was ischaemic heart disease in men and lung cancer in females. In 2011, both conditions represented 22% and 15% of all avoidable male and female deaths respectively in England and Wales.

Overall, coronary heart disease accounted for 18% of all avoidable deaths in 2011 – more than 20,000 avoidable deaths out of a total 113,910.

Geographical location around England made a difference to death rates as avoidable mortality rates tended to be highest in the north of England and lowest in the south and east of England over the period 2001–11.

The ONS made comparisons between 2001 and 2011 and found that avoidable mortality rates were significantly higher in Wales than in England throughout the decade.

In England, the avoidable mortality rate for all people fell by 28% from 240.4 per 100,000 population in 2001 to 173.5 in 2011, while in Wales, the rates dropped by 26% from 264.4 per 100,000 people in 2001 to 196.4 in 2011.

June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We’ve made great progress in tackling heart disease through better research, prevention and care but these latest figures show we’ve still got a fight on our hands.

“Heart disease doesn’t need to claim the thousands of lives it currently does. If more of us kept active, ate a healthy balanced diet and stopped smoking, and over 40s ensured they attended their NHS Health Check, it could help us to make even better progress.

“It’s also not good enough that people from the poorest communities are around three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than people from the most affluent. Addressing these inequalities will hopefully mean a future where coronary heart disease is no longer the UK’s single biggest killer.”

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