[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 09:55 GMT
Coast areas 'heart disease risk'
Heart attack
Heart disease is the major killler in the UK
People living near the coasts of Devon, Norfolk and Dorset have the highest risk of heart disease, experts say.

The University of Portsmouth and market researchers TNS analysed national healthcare data and quizzed 750,000 in the UK to find out who was at risk.

In south and east Dorset, nearly 14% of the population were at risk compared to under 6% in areas of London.

Researchers put the differences down to the age of populations, access to health services and lifestyle.

AREAS MOST AT RISK OF HEART DISEASE
South and east Dorset - 13.6%
North Norfolk - 13.2%
Bexhill and Rother (Sussex) - 13%
East Devon - 12.8%
East Lincolnshire - 12.7%

Heart disease and stroke remain the biggest killer in the UK, responsible for 37% of deaths.

There were more than 500,000 deaths from heart disease last year, although the figure has been declining since the 1970s.

But the latest study, which researchers say could be used by the NHS to target treatment, shows huge regional variations.

South and east Dorset is the health area with the most risk, 13.6% of population, followed by North Norfolk on 13.2%, Bexhill and Rother (Sussex) 13%, east Devon 12.8% and east Lincolnshire, 12.7%.

The five areas with the least risk are Wandsworth, 5.8%, Hammersmith and Fulham, 6%, Westminster, 6.2%, Kensington and Chelsea, 6.4%, and Haringey, 6.5%.

AREAS LEAST AT RISK OF HEART DISEASE
Wandsworth - 5.8%
Hammersmith and Fulham - 6%
Westminster - 6.2%
Kensington and Chelsea - 6.4%
Haringey - 6.5%

TNS research director Bill Blyth said: "The study will enable public health directors to aim educational programmes where they are needed most."

He suggested health officials could use the data to see who they should be targeting with statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs which NHS advisers say should be prescribed to people at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

"As symptoms for coronary problems are often not present until the disease is well advanced and high cholesterol has no symptoms, it is often difficult to identify and reach those most at risk."

Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the British Heart Foundation, said the findings were in line with what was already suspected.

"It's age and deprivation that are the biggest predictors of heart disease rather than the north-south divide and we do have misconceptions about what areas are deprived.

"Rural deprivation is significant."

UK HEART DISEASE RISK
Source: TNS market researchers and University of Portsmouth




SEE ALSO:
Heart disease missed in women
02 Sep 05 |  Health
Heart deaths could be cut in half
10 Jan 05 |  Merseyside


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific