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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 01:55 GMT
Britons ignore heart disease message
One in six women die from heart disease
Deaths from heart disease are falling in the UK but not as rapidly as in other European countries.

New statistics show Britain is still a world leader in heart disease despite there being 3,000 fewer deaths last year.

Only Finland and the Republic of Ireland were ahead of the UK within the European Union.

The fact that we have one of the highest death rates in the western world is shocking - and a reality that we cannot ignore

Professor Sir Charles George
The latest data, from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), reveals an increase in the cost of drugs prescribed to treat heart disease.

Cholesterol lowering drugs - statins - now cost the NHS more than any other class of drug with over 440 million spent in 2001. This represents an increase of 113 million since 2000.

'Shocking'

Professor Sir Charles George, Medical Director at the BHF, said: "The fact that deaths from coronary heart disease are continuing to fall is good news and is in part a testament to the resources and skill committed to CHD in the UK today.

"However, the fact that we have one of the highest death rates in the western world is shocking - and a reality that we cannot ignore."

He said while more people were expected to survive the condition in the future, the growing burden on the NHS to provide treatment and care needed to be considered.

"We need to tackle the underlying causes of CHD in the UK - in particular lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity - if we are to improve the heart health of the nation," he said.

Lifestyle warning

The BHF warned that despite increasing knowledge about the dangers of certain risk factors, the message that CHD is largely preventable was clearly not getting through.

People in Britain were continuing to smoke, shun exercise and eat an unhealthy diet.

CHD accounts for more than 120,000 deaths in the UK each year and costs the UK economy 7 bn.

One in four men and one in six women now die from the disease.

See also:

04 Dec 02 | Health
20 Nov 02 | Health
18 Jul 02 | Health
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