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Official data shows large increase in number of deaths from heart attacks.
And 2022 isn't looking good
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A freedom of information request last week asked the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to supply information on the number of heart attacks between 2019 and 2022. The ONS responded with concerning data showing the number of deaths where heart attacks were the underlying cause, by five-year age bands.
2020, the year of the start of the pandemic, started to show an increase. Overall, the numbers were relatively flat but when broken down by age there was a big increase in individuals between 35 and 75. The 20-24 age bracket (in the chart below) looks like a big decrease in heart attacks but it only represents a drop from three deaths to two.
In terms of raw numbers, the following chart shows how many more/less heart attacks happened in 2020 when compared with 2019.
Clearly the drop in numbers of heart attacks in people over 80 offsets the numbers in younger (40-75) age groups.
Next, looking at 2021, the year when the pandemic continued and mass vaccination occurred, numbers kept rising. Comparing 2021 with 2019, the increases are much higher. Overall, the increase is modest (+3.5%) but as before, when separated by age, the increases are more obvious.
Again, ignore the 20-24 year old group, this only represents a change of one death. However, between 25 and 75 there are some significant increases. The highest increase was in the 40-44 year olds with a 27 percent increase.
The chart below shows the changes in terms of raw numbers.
Overall, there were 675 more deaths from heart attacks in 2021 when compared with 2019. Again this is massively offset by the large drop in the over 80s.
The 2021 data is labelled as provisional which means there may be even more heart attack deaths when the data is finalised, due to registration delays.
Obviously, the data for 2022 is also provisional and only represents one month. However, if the data that is provided is extrapolated forwards to estimate the numbers for the rest of the year, the numbers are even higher than 2021.
This is only an estimate based on January’s figures so should be viewed with caution. However, the trend from 2019 so far is clear and that is upwards. The chart below shows the estimated increase in numbers of heart attacks, if January’s data is extrapolated forwards.
If the current trend continues there will be more than 3,500 more deaths from heart attacks in 2022 than in 2019.
I must stress again that the last two charts are highly speculative and there may be many reasons for the high rate of heart attack deaths in January. Hopefully, there will be fewer throughout the year to balance things out. What is clear, however, is that the trend from 2019 in numbers of deaths from heart attacks is very firmly up. If Covid was the reason for the increase then mass vaccination has clearly not made a difference.
Furthermore, whilst actual numbers of heart attack deaths are relatively low in younger age groups, the percentage increases are rather concerning. It would be interesting to see the data broken down by month and vaccination status to see if any reasons for the increases could be ascertained.
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