UK heart disease and stroke death rates now lower than cancer
"Heart disease deaths now lower than cancer – but obesity crisis means this may not last," the Daily Mirror reports. A major review of European trends in cardiovascular disease deaths found that UK cancer deaths overtook cardiovascular deaths in 2014.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term used to refer to conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
Researchers looked at available data on the health burden of CVD and associated mortality across Europe. It found that CVD is still the most common cause of death across Europe as a whole – accounting for 45% of all deaths. In countries in Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine, CVD remains a significant public health issue.
However in certain Western European countries, including the UK, cancer deaths now overtake CVD deaths.
The statistics from a study such as this can never be 100% accurate. Also, it cannot answer why death rates may be changing – for example whether due to better population lifestyle, earlier diagnoses, or better and earlier treatments; or possibly a combination of all three.
The Mirror is right to strike a note of caution. The current obesity epidemic in the West could lead to an upturn in CVD deaths in the years ahead.
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