Heart attacks, strokes and heart failure will affect 1.4 million people in the Netherlands in 25 years’ time unless urgent action is taken to improve lifestyles, the Dutch heart foundation Hartstichting said on Thursday.
The public health institute RIVM used information about smoking rates, obesity, high blood pressure and heart and artery disease to assess the impact of heart problems on society by 2040. Although the greying population will have an effect on the figures, the real issue is unhealthy lifestyles, the heart foundation said.
High blood pressure, too much cholesterol, obesity, a lack of exercise and smoking all play an important role in the development of heart disease.
However, if people are able to keep their blood pressure under control, it will lead to a reduction in the number of heart patients of 360,000. If everyone stopped smoking, that would lead to a further cut of 320,000, the RIVM said.
In 2011, 850,000 people suffered from heart problems and strokes, making heart and artery disease the second biggest killer behind cancer, the RIVM said. The current health bill attached to heart and artery disease is around €8.3bn.
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