In Croatia, cardiovascular diseases are the first cause of death, and the latest data shows that 22,958 people died from these diseases in 2021, or 36.6 percent of all deaths, Dr. Verica Kralj from the Croatian Institute of Public Health said on Thursday on the occasion of the World Heart Day.
Analysis by gender showed that cardiovascular diseases were the cause of death for 41.6 percent of women (13,126) and 31.6 percent of men (9,832).
The most common causes of death are ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, which are diseases underlying atherosclerosis, which are largely caused by bad and harmful lifestyle habits that can be prevented in 80 percent of cases, said the head of the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases of the HZJZ -a Verica Kralj at a press conference in the Zagreb City Administration.
Kralj says that men are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, from 45 to 50 years old, while in women this risk is higher after menopause, and they have worse outcomes of this disease.
She called on citizens to eat healthier, eat at least four to five portions of fruits and vegetables, fish and chicken, use olive oil, drink enough fluids, consume whole grains, and avoid white bread, red fatty meat and processed processed foods that are full of salt. She also emphasised the importance of regular physical activity.
She emphasised that smoking is a very big risk for cardiovascular diseases, and exposure to passive smoking should be avoided.
Kralj says that compared to EU countries, Croatia with a standardised mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases of 572.8 people per 100,000 and is among the countries that have higher mortality rates than the EU average, which is 367.6. The range of rates for EU countries ranges from 190.4, which is in France, to 1051.8, which is in Bulgaria.
"For the last almost 20 years, there has been a trend of decreasing mortality from cardiovascular diseases in Croatia, but they are still the leading cause of mortality and morbidity," warned Kralj.
World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29 with the aim of raising awareness among citizens about the frequency of getting sick and dying from cardiovascular diseases in the world.