North West heart disease shock figures

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PEOPLE living in the North-West are more likely to die from heart disease than anywhere else in the UK, figures have shown.

The research, carried out by cholesterol charity Heart UK, revealed the mortality rate in the area was higher than the rest of the country with three of the five worst death rates found in the North-West.

Among the areas with the highest deaths through the disease was Blackburn with Darwen PCT while the mortality rate for the East Lancashire PCT, which includes Burnley, based on 2009 figures from the NHS Information Centre, was 102.92 people per 100,000 – significantly higher than the national average of 77.63.

The mortality rate for the North-West was 93.72 people per 100,000 with a similar pattern emerging across all northern areas compared to the south, where on the whole the mortality rate was lower.

Heart UK has now launched a “Heart Hotspots” campaign to raise awareness of the inequalities across England and encourage patients to look after their health.

However Heart UK chief executive Jules Payne said people could reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke through being aware of the risk factors no matter where they lived.

“There are simple changes that people can make to improve their heart health.

“Those diagnosed with heart problems should take a proactive approach towards their health - knowing their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and weight, going for regular check-ups and speaking to their doctor if they have any concerns.

“For those with a family history of heart disease, small changes to diet and lifestyle for example can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Professor Roger Boyle CBE, Department of Health’s national director for heart disease and stroke, added: “The latest data reinforces the fact that despite recent progress in the management of cardiovascular disease there is still more that can be done to ensure people are aware of the risk factors for having a heart attack or stroke and what can be done to address these risk factors.

“The Heart Hotspots campaign is a valuable step in raising awareness and it is vital that we continue to focus on tackling the UK’s leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease, and ensuring that inequalities are being addressed.”

More details on the charity can be found at www.heartuk.org.uk.