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Heart attack deaths halve thanks to healthier lifestyle choices

Published on 26/01/2012

A new study has shown that heart attack deaths have halved over the past decade, thanks to people leading healthier lives and the availability of better treatment.

Researchers at Oxford University investigated all heart attacks in England between 2002 and 2010, a total of 840,175 people who were admitted to hospital with a heart attack.

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal, showed that there were 18,576 fewer deaths from heart attacks in 2010 compared with 2002. In addition, there were 76,978 fewer deaths in total over those years.

The greatest decline in heart attacks and in deaths was in the middle-aged, and the smallest decrease was among younger and older people.

Experts say the reduction in heart attacks is due to improvements in lifestyle, like people giving up smoking and eating a better diet. When the smoking ban was introduced in England in 2007 there was an almost immediate drop in the number of heart attacks.

Better treatment is also to thank for the declining death rate. There are now preventative drugs for raised cholesterol and high blood pressure, emergency procedures to re-open blocked arteries, faster ambulance response times and quicker diagnostics.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) which funded the study, said: “This impressive fall in death rates is due partly to prevention of heart attacks by better management of risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol and due partly to better treatment of heart attack patients when they reach hospital."

“But far too many heart attack victims still die from a cardiac arrest before medical help arrives. Many of these deaths could be prevented by rapid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Our message is simple: ‘hands-only’ CPR, as shown by Vinnie Jones, could save many more lives in the future."

However, the rapid decline in heart attack deaths is now slowing, especially in younger people, due to increasing obesity and diabetes in this age group.

People with private medical insurance could be rewarded on their policy for not smoking and eating a healthy diet, for example PruHealth’s Vitality scheme. Make a positive change in your life and compare health insurance online now.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Health
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