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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Fall in heart and stroke deaths
Heart attack victim
Heart disease is one of Scotland's top-three killers
Fewer people in Scotland are dying from heart disease and strokes, figures have revealed.

Health Minister Andy Kerr welcomed the fall, but said more work was needed to improve Scotland's poor health record.

The statistics show the death rate from coronary heart disease fell by 2.8% last year, from 154.8 deaths per 100,000 of population to 150.4.

Death rates from strokes and similar conditions decreased by 4%, from 82.2 to 79.2 cases per 100,000.

Mr Kerr called for more people in Scotland to change their lifestyle.

'Heed warnings'

He said: "Many Scots are at risk of falling victim to both conditions due to poor diet and lack of regular physical exercise.

"Smoking rates in Scotland are still sky high and alcohol misuse is also a serious risk factor.

"There is a real need for people to heed the warnings and look after themselves."

The figures show that the number of people diagnosed with coronary heart disease also fell by 4.8%, from 344.6 per 100,000 to 328.2.

And the NHS carried out 6,666 heart bypass operations and similar procedures, up 1% on the previous year.

The death rate from strokes among the under-75s fell by 4.4% from 26 to 24.0 cases per 100,000.

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