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26/03/2015

Higher Rates Of Heart Disease Among Older People In NI

Older people living in Northern Ireland are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease compared to those in the Republic of Ireland (RoI). They are also far more likely to have a limiting long-term illness and disability, according to a study funded by Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI).

The study was led by researchers from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen's University Belfast.

The study, led by Professor Frank Kee, Director of the Centre of Excellence and Deputy Director of the Centre for Public Health, examined the rates and impacts of heart disease among people over 50 by analysing existing datasets-The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA, 2011) and Northern Ireland Health Survey (NIHS, 2011)
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It also found significant differences in health behaviours linked with the risk of heart disease. While rates of obesity and smoking in the over 50s are higher in the Republic of Ireland, rates of physical inactivity, diabetes and severe depression are higher in Northern Ireland.

The prevalence of coronary heart disease is 12% in Northern Ireland compared to 8% in the Republic of Ireland, while prevalence of limiting long-term illness is 80% higher in Northern Ireland. The research highlighted the particular vulnerability of men over 50 and people in lower socio-economic positions.

Professor Frank Kee said: "When examining datasets on health among older people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland it is apparent that rates of heart disease and associated disability are higher in Northern Ireland. Significant differences also exist along socio-economic, gender and age lines. The findings illustrate the need to tackle key risk factors, especially physical inactivity among older people in Ireland, both north and south."

(CD/MH)

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