Drop in heart disease deaths in Carrickfergus

editorial image

Deaths from heart disease in the Carrickfergus area have fallen by almost a fifth in recent years, a new report has found.

The Northern Ireland Assembly recently published a Constituency Profile for East Antrim, which showed that the average annual death rate for circulatory illnesses, between 2008 and 2012, was 321 per 100,000 people.

Within the Carrick area, the death rate from heart disease decreased by 18 percent from 2011 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of people living with a heart condition has decreased to 1,722.

Fidelma Carter, public health director for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, said: “The Constituency Profiles outline the things which are of concern in the areas in which we live – health, education, unemployment, crime and road traffic accidents. It is good to see statistics on circulatory deaths highlighted in this way, but it is disappointing that they are higher than deaths from cancer or respiratory illnesses. As a charity, our vision is a Northern Ireland free of chest heart and stroke illnesses. Despite the death rate decreasing, we still want to ensure everyone is aware of the symptoms of a heart attack, as time is of the essence to give the person the best chance of survival possible. There are 12 heart attacks in Northern Ireland every day with three people sadly dying.”

NICHS is warning that fast action is crucial and has launched its STOP campaign in an effort to make people aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and save lives. STOP is an acronym for: S - Something’s not right – symptoms can start slowly; T - Tightness or pain in the chest, pain in the arm, neck or jaw; O - Other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or sweating; P - Phone 999 immediately – the ambulance crew will do an ECG.

Fidelma added: “There are some factors that you can’t control which mean you have a higher risk of heart disease – your age and whether you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are some of the most important ones to think about. However, there are also some things over which you have more control - whether or not you smoke, your weight, the amount of physical activity you do, your diet, how much alcohol you drink, stress and how much sleep you get.”