7 out of 10 people die globally of non-communicable diseases

7 October 2016        

A diagram to show blood flow in the heart. Seven out of ten people worldwide now die of non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, according to new research published today in The Lancet.

The research shows the world’s population has gained more than a decade of life expectancy since 1980, primarily due to advances in preventing and treating diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and diarrhoea. 

However, although the rate of people dying from cardiovascular disease and cancers has also fallen, this has been at a far slower pace. Cardiovascular disease is now the leading cause of death worldwide. 

The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors (GBD) study was a collaborative effort between 1870 experts from 127 countries. The report analysed data from 1990-2015 and used a comparative framework to estimate attributable deaths, the burden of disease and trends in exposure by age group, sex, year, and location.

Our view of the findings

Emily Reeve, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said:

“It is promising that globally our health is improving but further progress is needed to ensure this is universal and across all diseases. Although the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease has fallen, progress has slowed. Heart and circulatory disease still kills around 160,000 people each year in the UK, one every three minutes. This is largely due to preventable risk factors including high blood pressure, smoking, high blood sugar and obesity remaining high.   

“This study not only demonstrates the huge opportunities there are for intervention to help people reduce their risk and keep their heart healthy, but also the urgent need for more research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.”

More research to save lives

Over the last 50 years, we've funded research that has helped to halve death rates for heart and circulatory disease in the UK and significantly improved the lives of those living with its daily burden.

However, with seven million people still living with heart and circulatory disease across the nation, we desperately need to fund the research that will save more lives.

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