Scotland sees decrease in heart disease and stroke

NEW cases of coronary heart disease in Scotland have decreased by 27.3 per cent over the last decade according to new statistics.

ISD Scotland also reports that new cases of cerebrovascular disease (CVD or stroke) have fallen by 21 per cent over 10 years.

The figures show the mortality rate for heart disease decreased by 43.6 per cent across all deprivation levels, with the gap between most deprived and least deprived narrowing. Clinicians believe this to be due in part to the increasing use of less invasive percutaneous coronary interventions (angioplasties).

Mortality rates for stroke have also fallen steadily over the last 10 years. The decrease for men has been 45.4 per cent, while for women the figure is 39.2 per cent. Scotland has a high prevalence of the risk factors associated with CVD such as smoking, high blood pressure, poor diet, lack of exercise and alcohol consumption above recommended limits. Treating and preventing stroke continues to be a national clinical priority for Scotland through programmes such as the Better Heart Disease and Stroke Care Action Plan.

The number of prescriptions for drugs to treat cardiovascular disease (all diseases of the circulation, including stroke) increased by 25.8 per cent in the last 10 years but the overall costs of prescriptions dispensed fell in 2012/13 to £111.7 million, a reduction of 29.1 per cent on the previous year. This is the lowest cost for these drugs over the last ten years. Costs may continue to reduce as medicines become available in less expensive generic form.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil said: "These figures show that our strategy for tackling heart disease and stroke is delivering real results for patients.

"Our Heart Disease and Stroke Action Plan sets out a comprehensive programme for further reducing deaths at whatever age from both heart disease and stroke. The plan focuses not just on providing the best possible care in the acute setting, but in helping people’s longer-term recovery in their own communities.

"Future improvements will largely depend on people’s lifestyles – eating better, being more active, stopping smoking and drinking sensibly. We are taking firm action in all these areas to support people to live healthier lives."