New data that has been released indicate that avoidable deaths due to drugs and drink continue to remain high in Wales, compared to England.
The level has been higher in Wales for each year from 2001 to 2012.
The data includes deaths due to alcohol and drug abuse, suicides and accidental deaths, as well as infectious diseases, murders and treatable illnesses.
Although the figures have shown a steady decline in Wales over the 11-year period, the rate of decline has been greater in England.
The figures indicate that males are more at risk of death from avoidable causes than females. During 2012, 28% of males, or 67,548 of 240,238, were at risk, compared to 17% of females, or 44,945 of 259,093.
Simon Gillespie from the British Heart Foundation said that coronary heart diseases continue to affect the lives of millions of people. He said that the governments in England and Wales introduced new ways in which heart disease should be handled. However, to stop the needless loss of lives, these plans have to be implemented by local authorities and health commissioners.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Health stated that the decline in deaths is great news, but there is still much to do to ensure that everyone is offered the chance to live a healthy life. She stated that the country wanted to be the best in Europe at ensuring that people live longer and reducing the rate of premature death.
The figures indicated a huge regional variance in the death rate. During 2012, the death North-West suffered the highest death rates for men at 253.5 per 100,000, while the lowest was in the East of England at 181.1 per 100,000.
The highest and lowest regions remained the same for women at 159 and 111.5 per 100,000 respectively.
For the period between 2001 and 2006, heart disease was listed as the top cause of avoidable death. However, since 2007, cancers and non-cancerous tissue growths have taken the top spot.
Professor John Newton, from Public Health England, said this indicates that cardiovascular disease has received adequate care and prevention methods are being used.
He said that the same results should be a target for cancer, by finding opportunities for prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment.
Cancer Research’s Matt Wickenden said that too many people are dying from preventable cancers. This is the reason why the charity is investing in research to aid in the prevention of the development of cancer.
He said the biggest risk factor for cancer is smoking. Smoking causes around one fifth of cancer cases and increases the risk for other diseases.
Image Credit: florriebassingbourn