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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 02:31 GMT 03:31 UK


Glasgow: The world's heart attack capital

Heart disease rates are alarmingly high in Glasgow

Glasgow women suffer the highest heart attack rate in the world, according to the largest international study of coronary disease yet conducted.

The worldwide study, involving 15 million people, also found that Glasgow men have the second-highest heart attack rate.

It involved academics at 37 centres in 21 countries covering four continents, and took 10 years to produce.

In a continuous study of 100,000 women in Glasgow North City from 1985 to 1994, 265 of the patients suffered heart attacks.

[ image: Glasgow has a high smoking rate]
Glasgow has a high smoking rate
Lead author of the report, Professor Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit of Dundee University, said: "For females Glasgow was way ahead of anywhere else. The next was Belfast with 188.

"The Scottish part of the study was done in an area of north Glasgow, which has one of the highest concentrations of social deprivation in the city."

Despite the World Health Organisation Monica Project (Monitoring Cardiovascular disease) reporting an overall fall in heart disease, levels for Glasgow women remained constant.

The Monica project, which used patients aged between 35 and 64, revealed that 777 out of the 100,000 Glasgow men involved in the project suffered heart attacks.

The Glasgow figure was 10 times higher than Beijing (China), Catalonia (Spain), Vaud Fribourg (Switzerland) and Toulouse (France) - the areas which experienced the lowest heart attack rates.

The only place to record a worse record than Glasgow was North Karelia in Finland, where 835 heart attacks were recorded.

The consortium of academics reported an overall fall in heart attack figures over the 10-year study period of 2.1%.

The largest percentage decrease occurred in North Karelia, where heart attacks were down by 6.8%. But for males in Glasgow the percentage decrease was just 2.3%.

The results of the project, published in The Lancet medical journal, showed that 48.2% of Glasgow's male heart attack victims died within 28 days and 46.4% of the female victims died within the same time period.

High risk factor level

Glasgow Co-Principal Investigator Dr Caroline Morrison said: "I think this is probably to do with the high level of risk factors involved. In particular there are particularly high levels of smoking among women and people tend to live the high risk lifestyles associated with poor areas.

"Statistics show that nearly as many females smoke as men in that part of the city and there is a lot of socio-economic deprivation. The fact that we have very high rates for men and women is worrying, but we are doing something about that."

Dr Morrison said health care was now being tailored to stop people suffering heart attacks in the first place by addressing the risk factors.

She said that continuing studies, which have been carried out after 1994, indicated that the number of heart attacks in the city were beginning to fall.

She said: "The results of this survey would have been disappointing if we did not know that things were getting better.

"We have got to play the long term game and in terms of medical care we are doing as well as anywhere else and that is encouraging. But the results of this study shows that people are not eating enough fruit and vegetables, which is just as damaging as having a high fat diet."

Belfast was the only other UK centre used for the project and alarmingly high levels of heart disease were also recorded for males in the Northern Ireland capital. Belfast recorded the fourth highest male figures.

A total of 695 men suffered heart attacks over the period and 41% of them died within 28 days.

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