Tag Archive: heart disease

UK obesity levels among the worst in Europe

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Heart disease statistics gathered from more than 45 countries show risk factors

A decline in deaths from heart attack and stroke in high income countries could be threatened by rising rates of obesity and diabetes, according to a study by European heart experts.

The study also finds that the UK is lagging behind many lower income countries in some aspects of heart disease prevention.

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) study involved academics from across the UK and Europe, including the University of Leeds, and analysed cardiovascular disease statistics for 56 member countries. The countries included European nations as well as Russia, the former Soviet states, North Africa and parts of the Middle East.

Published in the European Heart Journal, the analysis shows that huge inequalities persist with heart disease accounting for over 50 per cent of all deaths in many middle income countries, compared with less than 30 per cent in the high income countries of Western Europe.

Just under half of the middle income countries saw an increase in disease prevalence over the last 25 years, unlike high income countries where there have been small but consistent declines.

The study says the decline in cardiac disease mortality in Western Europe has come from a reduction in fatal heart attacks and stroke. That is now being threatened by the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes - risk factors in heart disease. The authors described it as a "...tragedy waiting to happen" and they noted "... already there are concerns about plateauing of cardiovascular mortality rates in younger adults."

The statistics also reveal that while the UK performs well in some aspects of heart disease prevention, it is doing comparatively badly in terms of others.

However, the UK has the lowest prevalence of raised blood pressure at 15.2 per cent of the population, compared to an average of 24.2 per cent amongst 47 countries, and prevalence of smoking is among the lowest in Europe. This contributes to the UK's position in the lower half of the cardiovascular mortality rankings for European Society of Cardiology member countries.

Chris Gale, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Leeds and a co-author in the study, said: "Whilst the UK has seen a decline in deaths due to cardiovascular disease, one should not lose sight of the fact that key risk factors for cardiovascular disease are on the upturn.

"In particular, in the UK we have seen an increase in the incidence of diabetes and childhood obesity.

"Tackling the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes must be a NHS and public health priority to ensure that the UK continues to reduce the health and wealth burden of cardiovascular disease, and that a legacy of stroke, ischaemic heart disease and myocardial infarction (heart attack) is prevented."

The study involved an international collaboration of researchers from the Universities of Leeds, Queen Mary London, Oxford and East Anglia with academic colleagues in wider Europe.

The study used data from the World Health Organisation, World Bank, the European Society of Cardiology and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. The authors warn the limitations that apply to the quality, precision and availability of the data demand cautious interpretation.


Brothers with congenital heart disease depend on children’s charity

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11-year-old Usman and 13-year-old need to have their blood tested four times a week and can do this at home with the INR testing kit provided by children’s charity CHSF in Leeds

11-year-old Usman and 13-year-old need to have their blood tested four times a week and can do this at home with the INR testing kit provided by children’s charity CHSF in Leeds


25% of all young patients receiving life-saving heart surgery in Yorkshire are of Asian background and the charity is calling out for  YOUR help

Adam and Usman are two brothers from Bradford. Born two years apart, they both have congenital heart disease. The condition was spotted before they were born, at their 20-week scans and both boys were delivered at the Leeds General Infirmary. They each had open heart surgery when they were just a few days old.

Now aged 13 and 11, Adam and Usman have each had three open heart surgeries. They take regular doses of the drug warfarin to thin their blood and must have their blood tested as often as four times a week.

Thanks to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), an award-winning charity supporting the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, the boys have been given an INR testing kit. This piece of equipment enables the family to test the boys blood at home, at a time convenient and most comfortable for them.

400 children receive open heart surgery in Leeds every year and another 10,000 pass through the unit as outpatients. 25% of all young patients are from the South Asian population in Yorkshire, the Humber and North Lincolnshire.

Masood, Adam and Usman’s father, said: “Having the INR kits has had a very positive impact on our family. It is convenient, given us peace of mind, and has saved us hundreds of pounds.

“It’s great that the boys can test their blood at home when they feel most comfortable doing so. They are really happy boys and live life to the full.

“Because of the CHSF and the equipment we’ve been given, our children don’t need to miss school or us take time off from work for regular blood testing.”

Now, CHSF is asking the generous Asian Express readers for donations over Ramadan to help support children and adults living with congenital heart disease across Yorkshire.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund provides funds to support family accommodation at the hospital, staff positions and training, vital resources for the ward and clinical research.

Hanif Malik, Volunteer Children’s Heart Surgery Fund Trustee said: “Ramadan is partly a period of reflection for those less fortunate than us and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are a crucial and life-giving support for all congenital heart disease patients.

“Many of the patients are from within the South Asian community but regardless of the background, Ramadan provides a great opportunity to help children living with this disease.

“Our Islamic principles encourage us to support such worthy causes so please donate generously to give them the best chance at a full and happy life.”

The charity also funds life-saving equipment to save and improve children’s lives. This equipment can range from hi-tech state-of the-art machines providing life-saving care, to hand-held devices the patients can take home.

With your support, they can continue to provide the equipment, staff and facilities to help improve the lives of other congenital heart patients within our community.   

You can help us to save lives of congenital heart disease patients right now, and keep the LGI at the forefront of cardiac care for the future. To donate, visit our website at chsf.org.uk/donate, text CHSF17 £10 to 70070 or call 0113 392 5742.

All the staff and volunteers of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund wish all Muslim Asian Express readers "Ramadan Mubarak!"