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Women heart disease warning

1st May 2008

Researchers fear that obesity may be affecting the fall in rates of heart disease among women aged under 50.

menopause

After continuous falls since the 1970s, researchers from Oxford University and Manchester University think the death rates within that age group are levelling out.

Publishing in the BMC Public Health Journal, the teams focussed on deaths in England and Wales from 1931 to 2005 and found the pace of the drop had started to slow, a trend it said was “disturbing.?

Report author Peter Scarborough said: “What we may be seeing with the figures for women is a plateauing and in the future it may even rise.

“It seems to me that the increased rates of obesity and diabetes are playing a role in this and if this pattern is emerging in women then it is quite likely we will see the same in men in the future.?

Better treatment and fewer smokers had cut heart disease death rates for all age groups but the rate of the fall among women under 50 has started showing signs of slowing. Between 1986 and 1995, the rate was 15 deaths per 100,000, which is half it was in the previous decade. However, in the 10 years since it has only fallen slightly to 12.5 deaths per 100,000.

The British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the study, described the findings as worrying.

Medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said: “Heart disease should be a very real issue for all women, and younger generations must take action now to cut down their risk.?

 

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