Figures show UK's biggest killers

Heart disease and stroke are the biggest killers of men but more women die from cancer, figures showed yesterday.

The report revealed Scotland had more deaths from both diseases than anywhere else in the UK.

Heart and circulatory disease – which also includes disease caused by high blood pressure – is responsible for 231 deaths per 100,000 men across the UK, but 267 per 100,000 in Scotland.

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Cancer among women results in 159 deaths per 100,000 population across the UK, but 181 per 100,000 in Scotland, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which includes 2010.

Comparing health in the UK with the European Union, life expectancy for men in 2008 was 77.4 years – more than a year higher than the EU average of 76.1 years.

But deaths from respiratory diseases (including flu, pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory disease, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma) are higher in the UK than in any other EU country.

In the UK there are 87.7 deaths per 100,000 men and 64 per 100,000 women from respiratory diseases compared to an EU average of 63.4 and 32.5.

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Meanwhile, women in the UK have 1.9 children on average, the third highest in the EU, behind only Ireland (two) and France (two).

The study also revealed that men are twice as likely as women in the UK to die from external causes, including accidents, falls, violence and self-harm. In men, they account for 39 deaths per 100,000 population and in women 17 deaths per 100,000 population, rates being higher in Ulster.

The report also found that one in five adults in the UK smokes, 26 per cent of men in Northern Ireland smoking (the highest proportion) and 20 per cent of men in Wales (the lowest).