Heart Disease Rates by Country

Poor lifestyle choices and genetic factors place many people at high risk for life threatening cardiovascular events.
Poor lifestyle choices and genetic factors place many people at high risk for life threatening cardiovascular events.

Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death, accounting for 15.5% of all deaths worldwide. Here is a list of countries that are most affected. 

10. United Kingdom (804)

In the United Kingdom (UK), coronary heart diseases (CHD) are responsible for a high number of the deaths in the country each year. A total of 160,000 people die in the UK each year from heart and circulatory diseases, with 42,000 patients dying prematurely due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). 38% of male and 37% of female deaths in the UK are caused by CVD. The UK's economy suffers an annual loss of 19 billion British Pounds each year in direct costs and those related to informal care of patients suffering from CVD. Some of the important risk factors contributing to a rise in the incidence and prevalence of CVD in UK are raised cholesterol levels (over half of UK’s adults have high cholesterol), inherited cholesterol conditions (1 in 500 of the population has familial hypercholesterolemia), and exposure to lifestyle related risk factors (excessive smoking, high alcohol intake, fatty diets, sedentary lifestyles, etc.).

9. Ireland (815)

CVD also act as the No. 1 killer in the island nation of Ireland. Around 10,000 people die in this country annually as a result of CVD, which accounts for 33% of all reported cases of death. Almost half of these CVD related deaths are due to coronary heart diseases. CVD is also responsible for 13% of premature deaths (below the age of 65) in Ireland. 2,000 Irish die each year from a stroke, which is more than the combined number of deaths caused by breast, prostate, and bowel cancers there. Also, about 30,000 Irish are currently living with a debilitating condition resulting from a past stroke.

8. China (931)

In China, a staggering figure of around 230 million people suffer from CVD. 931 deaths per 100,000 of the population in this country are a direct result of either stroke or CVD. One in every 5 adult Chinese suffer from CVD. What is worse is, as per estimates, the cases of CVD are believed to increase in China in the forthcoming years. A 50% increase is expected in cardiovascular events between 2010 and 2030. Also, the current trends for increased rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes cases in the Chinese population is expected to raise the number of CVD deaths by approximately 7.7 million, and cardiovascular events of all kinds by 21.3 million.

7. Argentina (993)

CVD remains one of the top causes of deaths in Argentina, with 43,796 people dying as a result of CVD in 2010. This figure is comprised by 25,142 cases of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and 18,654 cases of stroke. One of the most important contributing causes of CVD death in Argentina is that attributed to a lack of physical activity. 17% of the deaths due to CVD occurred in patients engaged in less than 600 MET/min/week (i.e., the minimum recommended level of physical activity). However, despite the skyrocketing figures of CVD related deaths in Argentina, there has been a 44% drop in mortality due to myocardial infarctions in the 15 year period between 1996 and 2011. A 55% drop in the number of smokers in Argentina during this 15 year period is believed to be responsible for the miraculous recovery in mortality rates due to CVD there.

6. Czech Republic (1,077)

The Czech Republic has a high mortality rate of 1,077 individuals per 100,000 of the population dying as a result of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. According to WHO data from 2014, coronary heart diseases was responsible for 34.04% of total deaths in the country. Hypertension, high cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, and excessive alcohol intakes are believed to be responsible for a fair share of the development of CVD among the population of this country.

5. Poland (1,171)

A scientific study conducted in 2011 estimated that the mortality level in Poland will increase from 2008 to 2030 by an increment of 17 to 25%, and this will largely be a result of the transformation of the age structure seen in the Polish population. Similar to the current situation, ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases will continue to be the leading causes of deaths in this country. However, on the contrary, other scientific studies have reported a decline in the cases of CVD in Poland since 1991. Between 1991 and 2005, the death rate from CHD in Poland has decreased by 50%, with 26,200 fewer deaths in the country in 2005 than in 1991 among those in the age range of 25 to 74 years old. The primary factors attributed to the decrease in CHD-related deaths in Poland have been advances in medical treatment (responsible for 37% of the decrease), and changes in risk factors like lowering of blood cholesterol levels and increase in physical activity (responsible for 54% of the decrease). Reduced smoking in men contributed to a 15% decrease in CHD-related mortality in that sex, though this factor was negligible in the case of Polish women.

4. Bulgaria (1,250)

47% of all deaths in Europe are a result of CVD with stroke and coronary artery disease being the main culprits. In Bulgaria, the statistics are even more shocking, with over 60% of deaths of the Bulgarian population being contributed to by CVD. There are warnings set by the National Heart Hospital in Bulgaria about an increasing number of younger people being victims of CVD in this country, with a substantial population between the ages of 30 and 40 being inflicted by CVD. To combat the alarming trends, Bulgaria has officially signed the European Health Charter, joining the continent-wide campaign aimed at reducing CVD related illnesses in the modern European world.

3. Romania (1,283)

In Romania, 1,283 individuals per 100,000 members of the population of the country die each year due to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In 2005, a survey was conducted to detect the risk factors for CVD in the Romanian population, using 2,017 adult subjects representing the spectrum of Romania's adult population. The average risk of the total Romanian population for developing CVD was 3.5%. Males had a significantly higher (5.4% versus 1.7%) risk of being afflicted by CVD than females. Hypercholesterolemia and high systolic blood pressure were the two factors considered to be primarily contributing to the increase in CVD cases. Smoking was also one of the risk factors of CVD, with the prevalence of smoking among Romanians (27%) being similar to that seen in other European nations.

2. Hungary (1,330)

Hungary has catastrophic morbidity rates, with a high percentage of Hungarian individuals dying due to CVD and stroke (1,330 per 100,000 of population) in this country. Perhaps the greatest risk factor contributing to the worsening morbidity figures of Hungary is the unhealthy dietary habits of the people there. The rich cuisine of the country, laden with cream sauces, refined sugar, and pork fat, coupled with a low volume of lean meats (prices overriding the budget of Hungarians living below poverty line), makes a deadly combination for development of CVD. This is one of the reasons why Hungary established a tax on sugar in 2012, as well as has implemented a large number of policies to decrease obesity rates in the country.

1. Russia (1,752 CVD deaths per 100,000 people per year)

In Russia, CVD is a major health concern, with 57% of all deaths in the country being a result of CVD. The standard mortality rate due to CVD in Russia is also the highest among all of the developed nations of the world. One might also notice large fluctuations in the mortality rates in Russia corresponding to major political, social, and economic changes in the country. This could lead to the inference that one of the risk factors for an increase in morbidity in Russia could be a result of psychosocial stresses, created due to the unstable situations prevailing in the country and its international affairs. Another reason for the deteriorating health of Russians in the past had been the reduction of health expenditures by the government during times of economic recession. There is also a huge regional difference in the death rates due to CVD in Russia, with the maximum number of such deaths taking place in the Northwest region of the country, and the lowest such mortality being being recorded in the Southern Federal District (according to 2009 statistics). Psychosocial factors, alcohol intake, tobacco smoking, unhealthy eating habits, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity and dyslipidemy are considered to be the leading risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Russia.


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