The FINANCIAL -- On the occasion of World Heart Day, Eurostat data highlight the extent to which heart attacks are the cause of death in the European Union (EU). In 2015, in the EU as a whole, heart attacks were reported as the cause of death in 12 % of all deaths.
The Member States with the lowest share of deaths caused by heart attacks in 2015 were France and the Netherlands (both 6 %), followed by Portugal (7 %). In these three countries, more men than women died of heart attacks.
In contrast, the Member States with the highest share of deaths caused by heart attacks were Lithuania (38 %), Latvia (29 %) and Slovakia (27 %). In these three countries, more women died of heart attacks than men.
The latest estimated information for the EU-28 relating to causes of death is available for the 2015 reference period. Table 1 shows that diseases of the circulatory system and cancer (malignant neoplasms) were, by far, the leading causes of death in the EU.
Between 2005 and 2015, there was an 11.5 % reduction in EU-28 standardised death rates relating to cancer for men and a 6.1 % reduction for women. Larger declines were recorded in relation to deaths from ischaemic heart disease, where death rates fell by 30.3 % for men and 34.3 % for women, while even greater reductions were recorded for deaths from transport accidents where rates fell by 43.3 % for men and 44.3 % for women. The standardised death rate for breast cancer fell by 10.1 % for women, which was in excess of the overall change for all cancers. By contrast, death rates for diseases of the nervous system increased for men by 25.9 % and for women by 31.9 %. Although the standardised death rate for lung cancer (including also cancer of the trachea and bronchus) increased for men and for women, the rate of change differed greatly: for men the rate increased by 3.9 % (with a downward trend since 2009) while for women it increased by as much as 56.0 %.
Causes of death in 2015 by sex
Standardised death rates were higher for men than for women for nearly all of the main causes of death
Except for breast cancer, EU-28 standardised death rates were higher for men than for women for all of the main causes of death in 2015. The standardised death rates for alcohol abuse and drug dependence were more than four times as high for men as for women, while death rates among men for intentional self-harm and HIV were between three and four times as high as those for women.
Causes of death in 2015 of people below 65 years of age
For people below 65 years of age the leading causes of mortality were somewhat different in terms of their relative importance. Cancer was the most prominent cause of death within this age group — averaging a standardised rate of 78 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in the EU-28 in 2015 — followed by diseases of the circulatory system (46 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants). Contrary to the data for the whole of the population, diseases of the respiratory system did not ¬ among the three most prevalent causes of mortality for those aged less than 65: the standardised rate for diseases of the respiratory system was lower than the death rate for diseases of the digestive system and was only slightly higher than the death rate for suicide.