The Scottish Government has met its ambitious targets of reducing heart disease deaths by 60 per cent and stroke deaths by 50 per cent – these causes of death are now at their lowest levels since 1995.
The actual number of deaths of people dying from coronary heart disease dropped by approximately 5000 from more than 13,000 in 1995 to around 8,000 in 2010. Furthermore, the death rate from strokes plummeted by 59 per cent to around 5,000.
Scotland’s improved medical treatment – including 70,000 tablets and pills prescribed every day – for heart disease and potential stroke victims as well as improved lifestyle habits of those affected by the diseases is credited with directly cutting the mortality rate in Scotland.
Ben McKendrick, senior policy and public affairs manager at British Heart Foundation Scotland, said: “Everyone working in prevention, this Government and the previous Scottish Executive, and NHS staff in particular, should take enormous credit for this. It’s crucial we keep our eye on the ball on prevention. Far too many people in our most deprived communities still smoke.”
David Clark, chief executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: “It’s excellent news that there has been a sustained reduction in death rates from heart disease and strokes. The two main reasons are improved acute services for heart attacks and strokes and improved lifestyles, particularly for people who have already had a life-threatening event.”
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “The tide is turning. We’ve managed to cut mortality rates in the most deprived areas faster than anywhere else, and have narrowed the gap between ourselves and the rest of Europe. Our strategy for tackling heart disease and stroke is delivering real results for NHS Scotland and the people of Scotland.”
Encouragingly, mortality rates have been cut in the most deprived areas faster than anywhere else.