Facts about heart disease

Some sobering statistics

Cardiovascular disease kills someone in the UK every 3 minutes.

Accounting for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. 1

Every 6 minutes, someone in the UK is struck by a heart attack.

1 in 3 people who have a heart attack die before reaching hospital 1

Stroke causes nearly 40,000 deaths in the UK each year.

And over 240,000 hospital episodes are attributed to stroke each year. 1

Heart disease also has an enormous financial cost.

The UK spends 3.2 billion each year on healthcare costs for heart disease. 1

For these reasons and many more, cardiovascular disease is one of the world’s most pressing health problems. And it's only going to get worse before it gets better. 

Find out about Women and Heart Disease.

A gathering storm

While advances in medical research continue to create the potential to increase life expectancy and quality of life... the community at large isn’t playing their part. Increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in the community are creating a virtual tsunami of cardiovascular disease in the years to come.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 17 million people around the world died from cardiovascular disease in 2008, and due to the growing epidemics of diabetes and obesity, this number is expected to surge to 23 million by 2030. This means we have to prepare for a virtual tsunami of cardiovascular disease in the coming 20-30 years.

There are a number of risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease. Modifiable factors include poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and non-modifiable risk factors include age, sex, family history and ethnicity.

UK risk factors for heart disease

Less than a third (30%) of adults meet the recommended 5-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables.


Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years

On current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050. 3

Over half of adults in the UK have high blood cholesterol levels.

And nearly 30 per cent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure and up to half are not receiving treatment.

Each year an estimated 22,000 UK deaths from cardiovascular disease can be attributed to smoking.

Nearly one in five adults smoke in the UK (19%) - nearly 10 million adults. 1

What can I do to help ensure a healthier future?

1. Adapt your lifestyle.

Consume a low-fat diet high in fruit and vegetables, moderate your alcohol intake and exercise regularly

2. Break the cycle.

Our children adopt healthy eating habits from a young age. Bring your kids up in an environment where you drink water, eat fresh food and play sport regularly.

3. Support medical research.

The Heart Research Institute is an internationally recognised medical research institute performing groundbreaking cardiovascular research. Established more than 25 years ago, today our work is more relevant than ever.


British Heart Foundation, 2014 Statistics
5 Department of Health, UK Food Standards Agency (2014). National Diet and Nutrition Survey: headline results from Years 1, 2 and 3 combined (2008/9-2011/12). London. 
3 The State of Food and Agriculture 2013, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.