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Heart disease deaths in under-75s rise for first time in 50 years

Thursday 16th May 2019
An upwards trend in deaths related to cardiovascular disease in those under the age of 75 has been observed since 2014, marking the first sustained rise for 50 years.
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Heart disease is something that tends to affect people later in life, although that is not always the case. However, it seems that it is becoming more common at a younger age, as a very concerning trend has been observed in under-75s. For the first time in 50 years, the number of people dying from cardiovascular issues has seen a sustained rise.

In 2014, 41,042 people in the UK died due to cardiovascular conditions including heart attack and stroke before their 75th birthday. In 2017, this had risen to 42,384. This is a disturbing trend, especially considering the medical advancements in the past 50 years that should have made this sort of death less common.

The trend can be observed in under-65s as well, with 18,668 deaths in this age group from cardiovascular conditions in 2017, compared to 17,982 in 2012. This means such deaths have risen by four per cent over five years, whereas they decreased by around 14 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

Overall, premature death rates from heart disease have been falling, but this decline has been slowing down in recent years. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of people dying from these conditions dropped by 25 per cent, whereas it fell by just nine per cent between 2012 and 2017.

However, it is important to note that dying of heart disease before the age of 75 is still rare. In 2017, only 28 per cent of all heart and circulatory disease deaths were in people under 75. However, that is still an increase, up from 26 per cent in 2012. 

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “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.”

Written by Matthew Horton

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