The ‘condition’ fuelling heart disease worries

Long-term declines in death rates due to heart disease and stroke are stalling.

heart attack

Long-term declines in mortality rates for people suffering heart disease and stroke are stalling, researchers say, and they are blaming one key contributing factor.

Coronary heart disease is the leading underlying cause of death in Australia, followed by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and cerebrovascular disease (which includes stroke), according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

And while mortality rates for heart disease and stroke were showing marked declines, that trend has almost stopped in many high-income countries, including Australia, and are even increasing in some countries, according to new research.

University of Melbourne academics have analysed trends in cardiovascular disease mortality, which mainly comprises heart disease and stroke, in 23 high-income countries since the year 2000.

They found cardiovascular disease mortality rates for people aged 35 to 74 were now barely declining and, in 12 of the 23 countries, were increasing.

In Australia, the UK and New Zealand, annual declines in deaths from cardiovascular disease are now just 20 to 50 per cent of what they were in the 2000s.

Professor Alan Lopez, a University of Melbourne expert on the global burden of disease, said research suggests that obesity, or at least poor diet, may have been a significant contributor to the slowdown in the decline of cardiovascular disease deaths.

“Each of these countries has very high levels of obesity. In Australia, close to one third of adults are obese,” he said.

“These increases in obesity levels mean that a significant portion of the population has been exposed to the cardiovascular disease risks associated with being overweight for several decades.”

University of Melbourne researcher and co-author Tim Adair said the research showed that the effect of successful public health interventions on cardiovascular disease mortality over the past 50 years was diminishing.

“In order to combat this, significant investment in preventive health measures is needed, particularly those aimed at increasing physical activity, improving diet and reducing obesity,” Dr Adair said.

“Failure to address these issues could confirm the end of the long-term decline in cardiovascular disease deaths and threaten future gains in life expectancy.”

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, New South Wales, found that if you live in a neighbourhood where fast-food restaurants abound, you might be more likely to have a heart attack.

Researchers concluded that heart attack rates were higher in neighbourhoods with more fast-food joints.

For every additional fast-food outlet in a neighbourhood, there were four additional heart attacks per 100,000 people each year, according to the report, which examined data on nearly 3100 patients hospitalised with a heart attack in a region of Australia between 2011 and 2013.

“Ischemic heart disease, including heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide,” said study author Tarunpreet Saluja. “It is known that eating fast foods is linked with a higher likelihood of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks. Despite this, there is rapid growth in the purchase and availability of fast food. This highlights the need to explore the role of food availability in the probability of having a heart attack.

“Previous studies have shown that the poor nutritional value, high salt and saturated fat in fast food is connected to heart disease.”

Are you more conscious of eating a healthy diet as you have aged? Do you limit your intake of fast food?

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    COMMENTS

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    Horace Cope
    20th Aug 2019
    11:10am
    We eat a main meal of meat and three veg every day with an occasional dining out treat. When we travel by car around Australia, we invariably seek out a McDonalds as we know what we can expect to get and we find the experience acceptable. I am not overweight, just a bit short for the weight I'm carrying and it is something I can change should I desire. What I don't want to see is any government slapping on a sugar tax or an imposition on those food outlets that somebody has classified as "fast food". Such a move is merely a political stunt to appease some loud mouthed meddlers and will only increase costs, not stop people getting fat. Nobody is forcing anybody to eat anything that somebody thinks is "unhealthy". We all have choices in life and some choose to eat food that makes them fat, it's none of my business if they do.
    Russell
    20th Aug 2019
    12:06pm
    I totally agree with you> It is my business what I eat and these dictators who say that the fastfood industry should pay a health tax are nothing but idiots who should mind their own business. I do not interfere in what they eat so they should not interfere in what I eat. These idiots like the vegans that completely break the law and trespass on peoples property to force their idiot views on others are nothing but dictators and they do not respect other peoples rights to what they eat but they want to be given respect and that everyone obey their way of life. To them I say "G** F*****" mind your own bloody business and obey the laws and don't try to change the laws just to suit your idiotic ideas and life style.
    musicveg
    20th Aug 2019
    3:16pm
    Russell why are you putting vegans down! This has nothing to do with this article. and besides they are animal activists no proof they are all vegans!
    Eddy
    20th Aug 2019
    5:08pm
    Well Horace and Russell, what don't you like about a sugar tax. Personally I find it quite appealing. Overconsumption of sugar contributes to the national health bill, it is only fair that sugar consumers should pay for their indulgences, like tobacco and alcohol users. Vegans and vegetarians are not idiots, they simply make different choices to yours, I have a adult grandchild who chooses to be vegan, he has no difficulty sitting at our table with us carnivores, just a minor problem preparing a separate vegan meal for him.
    PS. please do not go on about a 'nanny state' or I will ask you your views on the prohibition of heroin and methamphetamines and restrictions of other items like firearms and dynamite.
    Ted Wards
    20th Aug 2019
    11:28am
    Maybe its time that fast food joints were charged a health tax for the negative impact they are having, making it more expensive to buy and less attractive!
    Russell
    20th Aug 2019
    12:12pm
    Maybe it is time that YOU worried about what you eat and not worry about what I choose to eat. Mind your own bloody business. The fast food joints are not making a negative impact as you falsely claim, it is people like you with your false claims that are making the negative impact. Like I said "mind your own business"
    musicveg
    20th Aug 2019
    3:17pm
    I agree Ted fast food is too cheap and bad food is too cheap but the problem we really have is that healthy food needs to be cheaper and people need more access to fresh food. We need more community gardens in low income areas for a start.
    cirdan
    20th Aug 2019
    2:54pm
    I support Ted Wards view and frankly I DON'T CARE what you eat Russell but as a former health professional that worked with children for 33 years I have seen the short and the long term effects of poor diet. You may no longer be a tax payer Russell but those who are continue to pay the burden of short and long term health care from a range of problems and one of the most obvious is obesity.The proliferation of fast food is and has created an epidemic of increasing health issues. Ask your doctor Horace and Russell instead of dismissing what health science knows to be true and belittling others who express their concern.
    musicveg
    20th Aug 2019
    3:20pm
    Doctors do not suggest to you what food you should eat, they never even talk about diet or nutrition. It is not just fast food that is the problem it is packaged "dead" food, eating fresh wholefood should be a priority no matter your diet choices, and we need more community gardens and subsidizing the fruit and veggie industry instead of the meat industry.
    musicveg
    20th Aug 2019
    3:13pm
    I eat low fat wholefood plant based diet, no junk, no packaged, no artificial anything, eat real food, eat lots of fresh fruit and veg and you will give yourself all the nutrients you need, and don't over eat, exercise helps but not if you eat a bad diet. Fast food is a fast track to sickness and the health system is being overburdened by people who choose unhealthy foods. My mum was telling me how she knows an obese lady who got free everything, free moving costs, free bed, free help and more, while others her age have to pay for everything because they are healthy!
    cirdan
    20th Aug 2019
    3:50pm
    If you suffer from obesity and/or high cholesterol, had cardiac event, have diabetes, etc, your GP should be talking to you about diet and to minimise the consumption of fast food, excess fat, salt and sugar. It has been proposed the the law change to reduce the consumption of fast food and high sugar content foods but not stop it. Inevitably people can eat what they like but an increase in taxation to fast food and high sugar content food maybe a deterrent to the over consumption of these foods. There will always be those who will continue to eat fast food to excess and not care about anyone else or the impact on their own health and the health system. Very similar to smokers and heavy drinkers.
    Russell
    20th Aug 2019
    4:31pm
    But my point is "who has the right to dictate what a person eats". I am 78 years of age and I stopped work 6 years ago because I was injured at work. My height is 167cm and my weight is 84kg which is not overweight for my height. I worked 14 hours a day and there was a lot of physical work involved as well and that is how I was injured. My diet consisted of a lot of food that a lot of you want me to pay extra for or not be able to eat it at all. In the last 20 years I have been to the doctors every year for a medical check and my doctor has been pleased with the results. The only ailment that I have suffered in that 20 years is the injury that I received at work 6 years ago and a broken wrist 3 years ago. My diet now consist of a lot of fast food and according to my doctor my health is excellent, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, my heart,are all in excellent condition according to my doctor at my last medical check. So why should I have to pay more for my food or not eat the food that I want?
    cirdan
    20th Aug 2019
    4:54pm
    Well that's good to hear that you enjoy such good health at your age Russell and I can see how it would certainly be detrimental to your enjoyment of as much fast food as you would like, would impact you however the law may change to increase taxation on fast food and high sugar content food to deter others who are obese or becoming obese and consequently suffer or will, unlike yourself, from health problems and place an increasing burden on the health system as a result.
    Unfortunately the taxation system or the health system is not tailored towards what the individual wants or does not want so if it does change then at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that others may may change their dietary habits and put a little less burden on themselves and the health system.


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