Wakefield district among worst for early mortality rates

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People are dying young in Wakefield because of high levels of cancer, heart disease and strokes, a report has found.

A study published this week placed the district among the worst local authorities for premature deaths.

Wakefield was 110th out of 150 areas of the UK in the study, which showed huge variations in rates of avoidable deaths of people aged under 75 around the country.

The district, which is among “red-rated” local authorities, scored 117th UK-wide for rates of heart disease and strokes, 114th for cancer, and 97th for lung disease.

District NHS bosses said prevalence of health problems were a legacy from Wakefield’s industrial past.

Director of public health Andrew Furber said: “Health has been improving in the district and in many cases catching up with the national average, but there is much more to do.

“Levels of cancer, heart disease and stroke are higher than they need to be and we have already put services in place to try and prevent this.

“For example, free NHS Health Checks for those aged between 40 and 74 years through every local general practice and free support to help people stop smoking is available across the district.”

The report was released as district NHS bosses also warned of rising levels of diabetes.

Less active lifestyles and poor diets have led to a global epidemic of the condition, and 1,000 new cases a year are being diagnosed in Wakefield and North Kirklees alone.

Dr Dinesh Nagi, diabetes consultant at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said many people were also living with undiagnosed diabetes - leaving them at risk of complications from the blood sugar condition.

Dr Nagi said research showed that losing between three and four kilogrammes in weight could have the risk of developing the condition.

He said: “The message is for people to have healthy lifestyles, eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, reduce alcohol consumption and be more physically active.”

Dr Nagi said type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition, was often preventable and people could be assessed for their risk to the condition at GP surgeries.

If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications including heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.

Symptoms include feeling tired, urinating frequently, feeling very thirsty and weight loss and loss of muscle bulk, although the condition can also exist with no symptoms.