South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to step up efforts to increase stroke and heart disease prevention efforts.

The call comes as the latest figures on heart attacks, heart disease and strokes show that there has been an increase in the number of people in Dumfries and Galloway suffering from the conditions. The latest figures from the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division shows that in 2017/18 986 per 100,000 suffered from heart disease in the region, an increase from 931 per 100,000 in 2016/17. For heart attack, of which heart disease is a leading cause, there was an increase to 229 per 100,000 people in 2017/18.

The number of people in Dumfries and Galloway suffering from stroke in 2017/18 rose to 155.1 per 100,000 people.

Colin Smyth believes that with an ageing population in Dumfries and Galloway the Scottish Government must step up prevention efforts.

Colin Smyth said, “These figures give cause for concern as the number of people suffering from heart disease, heart attacks and strokes are on the increase in our region. Over the past few years NHS services have been affected by a lack of resources from the Scottish Government and the NHS recruitment crisis has had a huge impact on services across the whole region.

One of the first things to be cut in these circumstances is the preventative measures that can help to keep people out of hospital and pick up on conditions beforehand. With a number of the causes of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes being similar an increase in preventative measures would see a decrease in incidents and hospitalisations. One of the key causes is high blood pressure which can go undetected for a long time.

The Scottish Government should increase prevention efforts to reduce risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes and to detect high blood pressure so that lifestyle changes and medication can be prescribed.”

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