Heart attacks lead to one in five deaths in Malta

Over a million persons died in the EU from a heart attack or a stroke

The risk of dying from a heart attack in Malta is responsible for 22% of deaths among people in Malta, putting the small island nation well above the EU average of 13%.

In the EU in 2013 heart attacks – around 644,000 deaths – and strokes, almost 433,000 deaths, were the cause of death for almost 1.1 million persons, accounting for slightly more than 1 in 5 deaths (21.6%). Since 2000 however, the share of both fatal heart attacks and fatal strokes has continuously decreased in the EU, from being responsible for 16.6% and 11.5% respectively of all deaths in 2000, to 12.9% and 8.7% in 2013.

Malta’s incidence decreased to 22% from24% in 2000 for deaths from heart attacks, and from 10.7% to 8.3% for strokes.

Across the EU, the risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke clearly increases with age, with heart attacks and strokes being responsible for less than 10% of all deaths among people aged below 40, for between 10% and 20% for those aged 40 to 69 and for over 20% for the older age groups.

More than a third of all deaths were due to heart attacks in Lithuania (36.7%) and more than a quarter in Latvia (28.9%), Slovakia (27.9%), the Czech Republic (25.7%) and Hungary (25.3%). In contrast, heart attacks accounted for less than 10% of all causes of death in France (6.0%), Portugal (6.5%), the Netherlands (6.6%), Belgium (7.6%), Denmark (7.9%), Spain (8.6%) and Luxembourg (9.7%). In the EU, deaths due to heart attacks represented 12.9% of all deaths.

Regarding deaths from strokes, the highest proportions were registered in 2013 in Bulgaria (19.7%), Romania (18.7%) and Latvia (17.0%), followed by Croatia and Lithuania (both 14.3%) as well as Greece (13.4%). At the opposite end of the scale, France (5.7%), Denmark (6.4%), Belgium and Germany (both 6.5%), Ireland, Luxembourg and Austria (all 6.6%) as well as the Netherlands (6.7%) recorded shares below 7%. At EU level, strokes were responsible for 8.7% of all deaths in 2013.

Largest fall in the share of deaths due to heart attacks in Estonia…

Compared with 2000, the proportion of deaths due to heart attacks dropped in a majority of Member States despite an overall ageing population. Among them, the most remarkable decreases were recorded in Estonia (from 32.3% in 2000 to 23.0% in 2010, or -9.3 percentage points), Denmark (-8.0 pp), the United Kingdom (-7.7 pp), and Sweden (-6.9 pp). Increases were observed in Lithuania (+4.3 pp), the Czech Republic (+4.2 pp), Hungary (+3.3 pp) and Croatia (+2.9 pp).

…and in the share of deaths due to strokes in Portugal

A similar downward trend applies to deaths from strokes. The largest fall in the share of strokes in all deaths between 2000 and 2013 was registered in Portugal (from 19.8% to 11.5%, or -8.4 pp), ahead of Estonia (-7.9 pp), the Czech Republic (-6.4 pp), Austria (-5.0 pp) and Luxembourg (-4.9 pp). The only increases were in Lithuania (+1.7 pp), Bulgaria and Slovakia (both +0.9 pp).

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