Cardiovascular disease: Early deaths in England at the highest rate in more than a decade

Premature deaths from cardiovascular disease have reached the highest rate in more than a decade in England, figures show.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the rate at which people under 75 were dying from heart problems had fallen before the Covid pandemic, although progress slowed between 2012 and 2019.

However, since 2020, the rate has increased. The charity’s latest data shows that the premature death rate from cardiovascular disease in England reached 80 per 100,000 people in 2022. That is the highest since 2011, when the rate was 83 per 100,000 people, the BHF notes.

The actual number of people dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, coronary heart disease and stroke, has reached its highest level since 2008, with more than 39,000 such deaths expected by 2022.

The current turnaround has caused consternation. “We are in the grip of the worst cardiac care crisis in living memory,” said Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, BHF deputy medical director and consultant cardiologist.


“Every part of the system that delivers heart care is damaged, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery to crucial research that could give us faster and better treatments. This is happening at a time when more people are getting sicker and the NHS is needed more than ever.”

Babu-Narayan said it was tragic that hard-won progress in reducing early deaths from cardiovascular disease had been lost. “In addition, we continue to see more people than expected dying from cardiovascular disease overall, more than any other disease group,” she said. “It is clear to me that urgent action is long overdue.”

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The Covid pandemic is believed to be one of the reasons for the deteriorating situation. The BHF revealed last year that there have been almost 100,000 extra cardiovascular disease-related deaths in England since March 2020. noticing Covid had direct, indirect and long-term effects on cardiovascular disease.

However, the charity said other factors were at play, including a widening health gap between rich and poor, long waiting times for tests and treatment, and a failure to tackle risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

Even before the pandemic, BHF figures for the UK as a whole suggested a rise in the number of people dying from cardiovascular disease before the age of 75, something the charity said was not just due to a growing population, but also to other factors. including great inequality.

“We can stop this heartbreak, but only if politicians unite to tackle the preventable causes of heart disease, reduce the long waiting lists for people needing life-saving heart and stroke care, and help drive scientific breakthroughs to bring revolutionary new treatments and unlock cures. said Dr Charmaine Griffiths, CEO of the BHF.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “This Government has already taken significant action to reduce cardiovascular disease and its causes, including increasing access to testing and successfully encouraging salt reduction – and sugar intake, but we know there is more to do.

“Our Major Conditions Strategy will help prevent and manage conditions including cardiovascular disease, while our plans to create a smoke-free generation represent the most important public health intervention in a generation.

“In addition, we are investing almost £17 million in an innovative new digital NHS health check, which is expected to deliver a further 1 million health checks in the first four years.”