High number of premature deaths in Portsmouth that could be prevented

Alex Wardle, from Lee-on-the-Solent, collapsed at home and tragically died in March 2016, aged 23. 

From left: Alex's father, Stephen Wardle, sister Gemma Wardle, Alex Wardle and his mother, Denise Wardle.

Gosport family to keep Alex’s legacy alive by taking part in Great South Run

  • Deaths related to heart disease is 41 per 100,000 in England compared to 50 per 100,000 in Portsmouth
  • Director of public health in Portsmouth said lifestyle and poverty contributes to the high rate
  • Heart specialist says people need to ‘know their numbers’
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MORE people die early from heart attacks in Portsmouth when compared to the rest of the country.

The UK coronary heart disease (CHD) premature death rate is 41 deaths per 100,000 people, but in Portsmouth this stands at 50 deaths per 100,000 people.

Our key priority is to address the challenge of poverty and deprivation which are linked to the gap in life expectancy

Dr Janet Maxwell, director of public health for Portsmouth

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that on average, 74 people are dying prematurely due to heart attacks each year in Portsmouth.

This is the second-worst in the south east area, with Southampton recording an average of 76.

Dr Janet Maxwell, director of public health in Portsmouth, said the high rate is linked to increased levels of deprivation in the city.

Dr Maxwell said: ‘This data highlights a key health issue in the city, which we are aware of and are taking steps to tackle.

‘The high level of cardiovascular disease and premature death are linked to high levels of deprivation.

‘The higher prevalence of smoking, excess drinking, a poor diet and not having enough physical activity in these areas contribute to premature deaths through CHD.

‘A further contributory factor is poor air quality due to higher traffic emissions in these areas.’

Dr Maxwell added deprivation in the city needs to be tackled in order to help solve the problem.

She added: ‘Our key priority is to address the challenge of poverty and deprivation which are linked to the gap in life expectancy.

‘We are working to improve educational attainment and opportunities for skills and training to enable people to gain employment in order to support themselves and their families.

‘Improvements in housing standards and transport links will also support people in leading healthier lives.

‘The link between deprivation, poverty, poor mental health and physical health are well known.’

Dr Richard Jones is a consultant cardiologist at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

He said prevention is also the key to tackle the problem.

Dr Jones said: ‘Heart attack rates in Portsmouth are going down, and they have been since 1999.

‘However the rest of the country has also seen this reduction and it’s at a much higher rate.

‘And we know what the problem is in areas like Portsmouth and Southampton – that’s lifestyle.

‘Smoking, obesity, alcohol and lack of physical activity increases your risks of CHD.

‘This is very well defined in places like Gosport, Portsmouth and Leigh Park.

‘People need to know their numbers for blood sugar, glucose and cholesterol.

‘High levels of these can be treated.’