New data published in Heart reveal that deaths from heart disease and stroke have declined by almost 70 percent in the UK over the past 30 years. However, these improvements are not equally distributed among all four countries or between men and women.
The prevalence of cardiovascular disease has not budged and drug and surgical treatments over the past decade have increased significantly. This has resulted in a significant burden for the UK. In order to determine the overall burden of heart disease and stroke, researchers analysed national annual datasets to assess trends in deaths, ill health, and treatment for cardiovascular disease as a whole, and individually for coronary heart disease and stroke, from 1979 up to 2013.
The analysis reveals that when standardised for age, there was a decline of around 70 percent in deaths from CVD, CHD and stroke across the UK. Declines of around 80 percent were observed in premature death before the age of 75.
The largest declines were found in Northern Island with premature deaths in women from CVD and CHD falling by 83 percent and 87 percent respectively and premature deaths from stroke among men declining by 77 percent. But overall, the prevalence of CVD remains at 3 percent in England and 4 percent elsewhere. Prevalence of stroke still remains the same at 2 percent with an increase in men aged 65-74 and a decline among 45-64 year old women.
The analysis also revealed gender disparities. Hospital admissions for CVD in the UK increased by 46,000 between 2011 and 2013-14, out of which 36,000 were men. Admissions among men for CHD also increased by nearly 3000 while there was a decline of 5000 among women. Admissions for stroke remained the same but declined by 4500 among women.
Overall admissions for CVD increased by 11 percent in England between 2005-6 and 2013-14 and by 15 percent in Wales but the patterns for CHD and stroke were different. In Wales, CHD admissions increased by 4 percent and this increase was mainly driven by men while there was a decline of 6 percent among women. CHD admissions fell by 6 percent overall in England and this decline was also primarily among women as compared to men.
Admissions for stroke increased by 13 percent in England among men and by 6 percent among women but in Wales, stroke admissions increased by 7 percent among women and by 17 percent among men. England was on the top for drug prescription for diseases of the circulatory system. There was an increase of 78 percent in prescriptions between 1991-2014 while in Wales, there was an increase of 23 percent between 2005 and 2014, by 9 percent in Scotland and by 28 percent in Northern Island.
There was also a seven times increase in PCIs while there were a third fewer coronary artery bypass grafts in 2013 compared with the 1990s.
"Despite large reductions in mortality from CVD, CHD, and stroke, these conditions have remained a substantial burden to the UK, with rises in treatment and hospital admissions for all CVD," conclude the researchers."There is some evidence that improvements have not occurred equally for men and women or between the countries of the UK,. Although these are promising trends for mortality and stroke admissions in women, prevalence and treatment are increasing over time for all CVD and stroke."
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