26/01/2012 01:02 GMT

Number Of Heart Attack Deaths ‘Halved', Study Reveals

According to a recent study by leading health experts, the number of people dying from heart attacks has halved in just under a decade.

Researchers from the Department of Public Health at Oxford believe that these figures are down to the effort of millions who have stopped smoking, managed to keep their blood pressure down and reduce their cholesterol levels.

They also cite improvements in healthcare as a contributing factor to the reduced number of heart attack fatalities.

The results of the study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) come from the analysis of health data between 2002 and 2010.

Experts looked at the data of 840,000 people who were admitted to hospital for a heart attack, or who died suddenly from an attack, and assessed the total death toll as well as those who passed away within 30 days of an attack.

Researchers found that the death rate decreased by more than half across this eight-year period, with a 50% drop in men and 53% in women.

Further to this, the study found that 61% of people who experienced a heart attack were men, with 36% of these attacks resulting in death and 73% in those aged 65 and over.

“This impressive fall in death rates is due partly to prevention of heart attacks by better management of risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol and due partly to better treatment of heart attack patients when they reach hospital,” says professor Peter Weissberg from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

But he also warns that far too many heart attack victims still die from cardiac arrest before medical help arrives.

“Many deaths could be prevented if bystanders performed the ‘hands-only’ CPR if they saw somebody suffering from a heart attack. “

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