Belfast people 'higher heart disease death risk'
People living in Belfast are three times more likely to die from heart disease than those in the south of England, a charity has claimed.
The British Heart Foundation said Northern Ireland remained one of the worst regions for coronary disease.
It said more than 7,500 people a year had a heart attack or stroke in NI, 35% more than previously estimated.
More than 90 people under the age of 75 die from cardiovascular disease each month, the charity said.
It said cardiovascular disease accounted for more than one in four of deaths in Northern Ireland.
End Quote Dr Charmaine Griffiths British Heart Foundation
We need to understand more about how to prevent it happening and how to repair damage to people's hearts when it has happened”
The charity looked at premature death rates from cardiovascular disease among Northern Ireland's 26 council areas and found that Belfast was worst affected with 107 deaths out of 100,000.
Craigavon was second worst with 97 premature deaths per 100,000.
However, North Down had the lowest average figure in Northern Ireland with 57.
The lowest UK total was in Hart, Hampshire, where 35 people out of every 100,000 under the age of 75 die prematurely from cardiovascular disease, while the highest was in Glasgow where the figure is 144.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths said research was at the core of the British Heart Foundation's strategy to reduce by 25% premature death from cardiovascular disease by 2025.
"The British Heart Foundation already spends more than £2.5m at Queen's University Belfast on research to combat cardiovascular disease," she said.
"We need to understand more about how to prevent it happening and how to repair damage to people's hearts when it has happened."