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Death Rates From Cardiovascular Causes Vary Widely Across Europe
Date:2/6/2008

Differences were found between and within countries, researcher notes

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There are large variations between and within European countries in the rates of stroke and heart disease-related deaths, new research shows.

For example, rates of such deaths in several countries -- particularly in northern and eastern Europe -- are as much as seven to 14 times higher than in other countries. And a number of countries, including Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, even have large regional variations in these death rates. The report is published in the Feb. 6 issue of the European Heart Journal.

Researchers analyzed data on deaths from ischemic heart disease (IHD) and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) among people aged 45 to 74 in the year 2000. IHD is a form of heart disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart, while CVD involves potential stroke-causing defects in the blood vessels that supply the brain.

Overall, death rates for IHD were lower in countries in southern and western Europe, while CVD death rates were lower in the center of western Europe, with higher rates in surrounding countries, such as Greece, Portugal, and regions in southern Italy and Spain.

"In Latvia, there was a more than sevenfold higher rate of IHD mortality among men than in France, and there was a nearly 10-fold higher rate for women in Estonia than in France. For CVD, there was a 14.5-fold higher rate for men and a 12-fold higher rate for women in Estonia than in Switzerland," study author Dr. Jacqueline Muller-Nordhorn, a senior scientist at the Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at Charite University Medical Center in Berlin, said in a prepared statement.

"With regard to IHD, there is a clear north-east to south-west gradient in mortality. In particular, countries from central and eastern Europe have high mortality rates co
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