Deaths from heart and circulatory diseases among people under 75 are on the rise for the first time in 50 years, according to figures from The British Heart Foundation (BHF). In 2017 there were 42,384 deaths in under-75s from heart and circulatory conditions, an increase from 41,042 in 2014.

Heart disease remains a leading cause of death in the UK and worldwide, with millions at risk due to factors such as high blood pressure, which is asymptomatic. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and a family history of heart disease.

Historically, the UK has made impressive progress with treating and preventing heart disease, as a result of improved preventative measures and new treatments. The BHF says a slowdown in the rate of improvement in death rates combined with a growing population is partly to blame for the latest figures. The charity also stated that uncontrolled and undiagnosed risk factors and stark inequalities could be leading to avoidable deaths in younger people.

Between 2012 and 2017, the premature death rates for heart and circulatory disease in the UK fell by only 9%, compared with a decrease of 25% between 2007 and 2012.

The BHF wants the UK to reduce premature death and disability from stroke by half and increase heart attack survival to 90% by 2030.