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Germany among worst nations for heart disease

Emma Anderson · 17 Jun 2015, 16:08

Published: 17 Jun 2015 16:08 GMT+02:00

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Germany ranked eighth place for high rates of heart disease-related deaths among countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), the group of the world's advanced economies.

More than 310 people per every 100,000 die of cardiovascular diseases each year in Germany, compared to 256 for every 100,000 people in the United States and 245 people for every 100,000 in the United Kingdom.

The OECD average was 299 per 100,000.

Heart disorders are the most common cause of death in Germany, according to the Max Planck Institute for Biology and Aging. Such disorders include heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes.

There are many different causes for cardiovascular diseases, including genetics and natural aging, but smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol and being diabetic can increase risks.

Men are at a greater risk of death than women, with 374 German men dying for every 100,000, compared to 269 for every 100,000 among women.

Still, the OECD report said that Germany has significantly reduced its rates of death over the past 50 years, cutting the rate in 1960 of nearly 800 deaths per 100,000 people in half .


Source: OECD Health Statistics.

Germany also sees fewer people dying of heart disease at young ages, with statistics suggesting that deaths occur more often after age 70.

Germans also had a high prevalence of diabetes with 7.9 percent of the population affected by the illness, compared to the OECD average of 6.9 percent.

Lifestyle factors could help account for why Germans had higher rates of such health problems. The rate of smoking among Germans is higher than the OECD average at nearly 22 percent of German adults and 22.4 percent of youth, though the report noted that more recent data showed these rates to be decreasing.

A higher portion of Germans are overweight than in other OECD countries. The most recent data from the German Statistics Office showed that half of all Germans needed to lose weight.

Germans had lower rates of obesity, where people were at very unhealthy weights, than the OECD average, but the report observed that the rate of obesity has increased over time to 15.7 percent in 2013.  

The report concluded that Germany needed to do more to “promote healthy lifestyles” and improve the quality of primary care.

“Germany can further strengthen primary care to deliver prevention, early diagnosis and management of CVD and diabetes,” the report stated.

The countries with the highest rates of heart disease deaths were Slovakia, Hungary and Estonia. Japan, France and South Korea had the lowest rates of cardiovascular deaths.


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Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

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