Heart attack rate halves in a decade

Healthier lifestyles and improved treatment decrease number of heart related deaths

A study funded by the British Heart Foundation found that between 2002 and 2010 there were 76,978 fewer heart attack related deaths.

‘This impressive fall in death rates is due partly to prevention of heart attacks by better management of risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol and due partly to better treatment of heart attack patients when they reach hospital,’ says Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation.

An almost immediate drop in heart attacks was also recorded in 2007 when the smoking ban was introduced in England.

Research shows that the decline was most prominent in middle-aged people, while slowing down in younger ones due to rising health problems such as obesity and diabetes in those groups.

However, despite the significant decline, Professor Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe of the Institute of Cardiovascular Research, University of Dundee, warns of the importance to counteract vested interests of the tobacco and processed foods industries thereby knocking out the props that hold disease rates up.

Health Minister Simon Burns says the Government is working towards the launch of a Cardiovascular Disease Outcome Strategy to further reduce heart attack deaths.

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