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Diabetes and heart disease set to double

The number of people in the Republic with chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease will soar by 40pc over the next decade, new research warned today.

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) study predicts there will be more than 60pc extra diabetes sufferers and 28,000 additional strokes by 2020.

Incidents of coronary heart diseases such as heart attacks and angina are set to increase by half, according to the report.

Across the border, chronic conditions are expected to increase by almost a third, with 40pc more people living with diabetes and 30pc more with coronary heart disease.

Researchers looked at the prevalence of the health problems in 2007 and estimated levels for five and ten years' time across the island.

They found rates of the diseases were higher in northern and western parts of the island and lower around Dublin.

Chronic conditions were also more prevalent among men and those in areas of lower income and unemployment.

IPH associate director Professor Kevin Balanda said the dramatic increase would place a huge burden on health services and the economy.

"Unless we can address this increase in people living with these conditions we could be adding years of illness and disability to our lives," he said.

"The findings also help us understand why people from lower socio-economic groups die earlier from every major cause of death -- it's the result of people's lifetime experience and highly related to social and economic conditions."

The Making Chronic Conditions Count report predicts:

  • The number of high blood pressure sufferers in the South will increase by 40pc to 1.19 million people in 2020

  • In Northern Ireland there will be 482,000 people with high blood pressure over the next decade -- a 22pc increase in 15 years

  • The number of Northern stroke sufferers will increase by 29pc to around 42,000 by 2020.

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer with the Department of Health, said the findings would be heeded.

"This work will make a vital contribution to the intersectoral work that is such an important part of improving the prevention and management of chronic diseases," he said.

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