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Deaths from Heart Disease have Decreased by 50 Percent in the EU

Update Date: Jun 26, 2013 03:13 PM EDT

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death throughout the world. In 2008, nearly 17.3 million people died from a cardiovascular disease, which encompasses heart and blood vessels disorders, such as coronary heart disease. The agency has estimated that in 2030, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular disease will increase to 23.3 million. Despite these glooming statistics, new research found that specifically for coronary heart disease, the number of cases have more than halved within countries of the European Union (EU) since the early 1980s.

In the United Kingdom, coronary heart disease remains the leading killer with one in every five men and one in every eight women dying from this disease. According to researchers from the United Kingdom, the majority of the countries in the EU have experienced a steady decline in the number of deaths resulting from coronary heart disease in both men and women. In this study, researchers from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford reviewed the statistics for deaths related to coronary heart disease from 1980 to 2009 in both sexes. They categorized the data into four age groups, which were under 45, 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and 65 and above. Despite finding a decline, the researchers also found huge disparities between countries.

"It is clear that there are some countries in which trends are cause for concern, where overall rates of decrease in coronary heart disease mortality do appear to have slowed, and a small number of countries in which [coronary heart disease] mortality rates have begun to increase significantly in recent years or decades in younger subpopulations," Dr. Melanie Nichols, the study's leader, said according to BBC News. "We should emphasize that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Europe, and it is important that we continue to focus efforts on primary prevention, including reducing smoking, improving diets and physical activity levels."

The study was published in European Heart Journal.

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