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Main cause of European deaths is cardiovascular disease, research finds

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death in Europe accounting for nearly half (45%) of all deaths, according to new a study. 

Despite this, UK death rates from cardiovascular disease have decreased by more than 40% during the last decade, looking at data from 2003 to 2013 for all European countries except Russia, which was analsyed from 1999 to 2009 as more recent data was not available.

This is similar in most European countries, however the study from the British Heart Foundation has highlighted “major inequalities” in cardiovascular health between Western and Eastern Europe, the latter of which has higher death rates.

The leading charity's analysis showed that nearly half (49%) of all women in Europe die due to cardiovascular disease, in contrast to 40% of men.

Commenting on the new data, Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This analysis is a powerful reminder that cardiovascular disease remains Europe's biggest killer, despite the advances we've made in preventing and treating heart conditions through medical research. We can't be fooled into thinking the battle against heart disease is won.”

The four main types of CVD are coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease, and the risk is increased by hypertension, smoking, high blood cholesterol, obesity and stress as well as a family history of the disease.