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Cardiovascular disease costs UK 17.4 billion pounds

Written by: Staff

London, May 15 : Treating cardiovascular disease costs Britain 17.4 billion pounds a year, 18 per cent of total healthcare and a higher proportion of health spending than in any other EU country, researchers today said.

When lost productivity and informal care by family members are included, the bill rises to 29.1 billion pounds annually.

''Our study is the first to systematically estimate the economic burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the UK,'' said Jose Leal, a health economist at Oxford University.

''We estimated the healthcare cost to total 17.4 billion pounds, which is around 18 per cent of UK health expenditure,'' he told Reuters.

Healthcare accounted for about 60 per cent of the total costs while lost productivity was around 23 per cent and informal care 17 per cent, according to the research published in the journal Heart.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer in Britain. High blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels, obesity and smoking are leading risk factors. People who survive a heart attack or stroke often need care and long-term medical treatment.

The research by Leal's team at the university's Health Economic Research Centre is based on all British residents diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in 2004. Costs include medication, emergency care, hospitalisations and community and social services.

The researchers did not look at why Britain spends a higher percentage of its total healthcare costs on cardiovascular disease than other countries. But Leal said different rates of the illness and the types and costs of medications could be the reasons.

The costs of treating heart disease and stroke are similar, according to the findings.

Hospital care, which amounted to 10 billion pounds, was the costliest component. Expenditure on drugs amounted to nearly 3 billion pounds a year.

The figures showed 69 million work days were lost to cardiovascular disease in 2004.

CVD is a leading public health problem in the UK measured by the economic burden of disease,'' Leal added in the study.


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