European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2017

  • Each year cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes 3.9 million deaths in Europe and over 1.8 million deaths in the European Union (EU).
  • CVD accounts for 45% of all deaths in Europe and 37% of all deaths in the EU.
  • CVD is the main cause of death in men in all but 12 countries of Europe and is the main cause of death in women in all but two countries.
  • Death rates from both ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke are generally higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Northern, Southern and Western Europe.
  • CVD mortality is now falling in most European countries, including Central and Eastern European countries which saw considerable increases until the beginning of the 21st century.
  • In 2015, there were just under 11.3 million new cases of CVD in Europe and 6.1 million new cases of CVD in the EU.
  • In 2015, more than 85 million people in Europe were living with CVD and almost 49 million people were living with CVD in the EU.
  • Over the past 25 years, the absolute number of CVD cases has increased in Europe and in the EU, with increases in the number of new CVD cases found in most countries.
  • However, the age-standardised prevalence rate of CVD has fallen in most European countries, with greater decreases in Northern, Western and Southern European countries compared to those in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Although disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to CVD have been falling in most European countries over the last decade, CVD is responsible for the loss of more than 64 million DALYs in Europe (23% of all DALYs lost) and 26 million DALYs in the EU (19%).
  • The rates of DALYs lost due to CVD are generally higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Northern, Southern and Western Europe.
  • Hospital discharge rates for CVD as a whole have increased steadily in Europe over the past 25 years. In the EU on average hospital discharge rates for CVD have plateaued since the early 2000s, following increases since 1990.
  • Dietary factors make the largest contribution to the risk of CVD mortality and CVD DALYs at the population level across Europe of all behavioural risk factors. High systolic blood pressure makes the largest contribution of all the medical risk factors.
  • Over the past three decades, fruit consumption has increased overall across Europe and overall in the EU, while vegetable consumption has increased slightly in Europe as a whole, but has remained relatively stable in the EU.
  • Fat consumption and energy consumption in Europe have increased over the last two decades, driven mainly by trends in Eastern Europe. In the EU, consumption of fat and energy has remained relatively stable over the past two decades.
  • Smoking remains a key public health issue in Europe. Smoking rates have decreased across much of Europe, although the pace of decline has slowed and rates remain stable or are rising in some countries, particularly among women.
  • The highest rates of smoking among men are found in countries of the former Soviet Union, while among women smoking rates are relatively low in former Soviet states compared to those in Northern and Western European countries.
  • The prevalence of smoking in the EU is lower than in Europe as a whole among men but higher than in Europe among women.
  • Women are now smoking nearly as much as men in several Northern and Western European countries and girls frequently smoke more than boys.
  • Few adults in European countries participate in recommended levels of physical activity, with inactivity more common among women than men.
  • Over the past 30 years, average levels of alcohol consumption have decreased very gradually in Europe and in the EU.
  • Age-standardised rates of mean total blood cholesterol have decreased over the last 30 years in nearly all European countries.
  • Levels of obesity are high across Europe and in the EU in both adults and children, although rates vary substantially between countries.
  • The prevalence of diabetes in Europe is high and has increased rapidly over the last ten years, increasing by more than 50% in many countries.
  • Overall CVD is estimated to cost the EU economy €210 billion a year.
  • Of the total cost of CVD in the EU, around 53% (€111 billion) is due to health care costs, 26% (€54 billion) to productivity losses and 21% (€45 billion) to the informal care of people with CVD.

Please click here to access the 2017 report on European Cardiovascular Disease statistics.

The methodology used for collecting the economic cost data is outlined in a separate document. Please click here for the methodology on cost calculation.

Age-standardised death rates, all ages, by sex, latest available year in the EU.