Two-thirds of deaths of under 75-year-olds could have been prevented

Heart attacks are responsible for 174,000 preventable deaths, or 15% of all preventable deaths in 2016. Tracheal, bronchial and lung cancers account for 168,000 deaths (14% of preventable deaths).

In 2016, the deaths of 1.2 million Europeans under 75 were considered premature and could have been prevented, according to a report by Eurostat. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.

A report published by Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, examines the number of deaths deemed preventable that occurred in the various EU member states and their immediate neighbours in 2016.

In 2016, 1.7 million people under the age of 75 died in the EU, of which 1.2 million were considered premature, according to Eurostat. Around 741,000 of these could have been prevented while 422,000 could have been treated with timely and effective intervention.

“Preventable deaths” are the deaths that could have been prevented through “effective interventions in the field of public health and primary prevention,” according to Eurostat. In particular, some of the deaths contained in this category related to smoking and alcohol. These deaths could have been prevented before the onset of disease or injury.

The Office distinguishes these with “treatable deaths,” which include deaths that could have been prevented by timely and effective health care interventions. This includes the prevention and treatment of diseases to reduce cases of mortality.

Geographical disparities

The proportions of potentially preventable deaths vary between countries.

The highest rates are in Lithuania (336 per 100,000 inhabitants), Latvia (331) and Hungary (325). The lowest are in Italy (110) and Cyprus (100).

For treatable deaths, the highest rates are in Romania (207.71/100,000 inhabitants), Lithuania (205.58) and Latvia (203.13). By comparison, Switzerland (52.63), Iceland (62.35), France (62.47) and Norway (62.88) are the highest-ranked countries.

Heart and lung diseases 

When analysing the causes of premature deaths, Eurostat highlighted the importance of heart and lung diseases.

Heart attacks are responsible for 174,000 preventable deaths, or 15% of all preventable deaths in 2016. Tracheal, bronchial and lung cancers account for 168,000 deaths (14% of preventable deaths).

Eurostat also stated that these indicators highlight the potential gaps in European health systems but should not be used as a measuring point for “monitoring healthcare” in different countries.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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