World Heart Day: New European statistics released on heart disease and stroke

September 29, 2012

The statistics show that efforts to reduce heart disease deaths are successful, with mortality now falling in most of the continent. At the same time, the report shows the huge burden CVD presents to Europe's health, and suggests that underlying factors may cause CVD to increase in the near future.

The figures show some progress. Since the 2008 report there has been a substantial drop in the number of deaths attributed to heart disease. CVD is now responsible for four million European deaths annually, down from 4.3 million in 2008 (which represents a drop from 48% to 47% of total European deaths). Within the EU, it is responsible for 1.8 million deaths per year, down from two million in 2008 (40% of all EU deaths, down from 42%)2.

Commenting, ESC President, Professor Panos Vardas said:

"There is good news here, but it needs to be approached with some caution. Fewer lives are being lost to than in 2008. At the same time, the scale of the problem is enormous. CVD is still responsible for four million European deaths per year. This is a real human tragedy and a significant . We anticipate this burden will continue to increase in the coming years due to ageing populations and unhealthy lifestyles".

Dr. Hans Stam, President of the European Heart Network, said:

"This reduction in CVD mortality is a real success story. A few years ago it seemed that the rise in cardiovascular disease was unstoppable; this report shows that we have reversed that trend, and that lives are being saved. At the same time, we know that there are potential problems ahead. Diabetes and are rising, smoking is still a major issue, and people are still not doing enough physical activity. The continent is also growing older. Today's figures are good, very good, but they must not lead to complacency".

The report contains a range of European comparators, giving the latest available figures on mortality, morbidity, treatment, smoking, diet, , alcohol, blood pressure, cholesterol, overweight and obesity, diabetes, and financial implications for each country. Key statistics include:

  • CVD hits women especially hard – it is the main cause of for women in each of the 27 EU countries3.
  • CVD is the leading cause of death for men in all the EU countries except France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain3.
  • Stroke is the second single most common cause of death in Europe: accounting for almost 1.1 million deaths each year. Over one in seven women (15%) and one in ten men (10%) die from the disease3.
  • There are huge differences in CVD mortality within Europe. For example, for men CVD causes between 60% (Bulgaria) and 25% of deaths (France) and for women between 70% (Bulgaria) and 30% of deaths (France and the Netherlands)4.
  • The prevalence of diabetes is high, with more than 50% rises in some countries in the last decade. This, plus increasing obesity levels, is threatening to reverse the improvements of recent years5.
  • The economic burden of CVD is huge, estimated €196 billion a year, of which around 54% is due to direct health expenditure; 24% to productivity losses and 22% to the informal care of people with CVD. The impact on national health care systems is approximately €212 per year6, per person, in the EU.
  • The figures also show substantial regional differences. Central and Eastern Europe saw large increases in CVD deaths in the years up to the turn of the century, but now mortality rates in this region are declining significantly. For example, over the 2003-2009 period, the rate of coronary (CHD) deaths in Russian men dropped from 251 to 186 (per 100,000). Nevertheless, these figures are still huge in comparison with other areas in Europe: for example, the UK has a male mortality rate of 33 per 100,000, and in the Netherlands this rate is 16 per 100,000 (2009 figures)7.
Dr. Stam highlighted that CVD is a chronic disease with a heavy impact on the individual, health care budgets as well as the economy at large. "Today most public health expenses are linked to treatment. It is urgent to invest in prevention in order to improve the health of European population and stem the socio-economic consequences."

Professor Vardas concluded: "The drop in CVD mortality across Europe is due to a range of factors, not just a single initiative. For example, over the last few years we have taken steps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and to highlight the dangers of smoking. These measures have helped enormously, but at the same time many lifestyle-linked changes, such as increasing obesity and diabetes, will make it harder for us to stand still. Most of cardiovascular related deaths are preventable. EHN, the ESC and its partners will continue to lobby for the implementation of changes in legislation and for population interventions in order to promote a healthier environment".

Explore further: Mortality from CVD in Brazil has increased 3.5 times more than in other developing countries

More information:

References

1. European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics, 2012 edition. Authors, Melanie Nichols, Nick Townsend, Peter Scarborough and Mike Rayner, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, and Jose Leal and Ramon Luengo-Fernandez, Health Economics Research Centre, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford. This report can be downloaded from the ESC and EHN websites.

2. Ibid, figure 1a-1d
3. Ibid, table 1.2
4. Ibid, table 1.2
5. Ibid, tables 11.1 and 11.1a
6. Ibid, tables 12.1 to 12.5
7. Ibid, table 1.4

Related Stories

Mortality from CVD in Brazil has increased 3.5 times more than in other developing countries

September 14, 2012
Despite Brazil's successful prevention campaigns which have contributed to a reduction in risk factors such as smoking, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the first cause of death in the country, at 32%. Tobacco consumption ...

Tax on salt could reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 3 percent

April 22, 2012
Voluntary industry reductions in salt content and taxation on products containing salt in 19 developing countries could reduce the number of deaths each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 2-3 per cent in these countries. ...

Global CVD leaders call the world to action—25 by 2025—from the World Congress of Cardiology

April 23, 2012
The Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce called on the 11,000 World Congress of Cardiology delegates in Dubai, and the cardiovascular disease (CVD) community at large, to support the adoption of a global goal to reduce ...

Cardiovascular disease community calls for tougher targets to curb global risk

September 18, 2012
Agreement by governments, by the end of 2012, on a set of ambitious global targets to curb the growing scourge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which includes cardiovascular disease (CVD; heart disease and stroke), is ...

Recommended for you

Early study shows shoe attachment can help stroke patients improve their gait

December 14, 2017
A new device created at the University of South Florida – and including a cross-disciplinary team of experts from USF engineering, physical therapy and neurology – is showing early promise for helping correct the signature ...

Scientists rewrite our understanding of how arteries mend

December 13, 2017
Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered how the severity of trauma to arterial blood vessels governs how the body repairs itself.

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

December 13, 2017
Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that radiation therapy—aimed directly at the heart—can be used to treat patients ...

Ultra-thin tissue samples could help to understand and treat heart disease

December 12, 2017
A new method for preparing ultra-thin slices of heart tissue in the lab could help scientists to study how cells behave inside a beating heart.

Young diabetics could have seven times higher risk for sudden cardiac death

December 12, 2017
Young diabetics could have seven times more risk of dying from sudden cardiac arrest than their peers who don't have diabetes, according to new research.

Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart

December 12, 2017
Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered how high glucose levels—whether caused by diabetes or other factors—keep heart cells from maturing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.