Irish adults are putting serious pressure on their hearts and those under 50 are particularly at risk, it has emerged.
Results of a screening programme of 5,000 people over a 12-month period revealed that one in ten needed to have their cardiac health further assessed by a medical expert.
The statistics published by Laya Healthcare also show that 70% of men and 52% of women are overweight or obese.
Also, one in four men (24.4%) and one in five women (19.5%) have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
The screening results mirror similar findings made by Imperial College London and reported in the Lancet, one of the best known and oldest medical journals.
The Imperial study found that Ireland has one of the highest rates of blood pressure internationally, but has the lowest levels of diagnosis, treatment and control of the condition.
One in ten people screened by Laya Healthcare’s cardiac screening programme were urged to have potential heart issues investigated, including Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SAS).
The referrals were based on irregularities that showed up in their electrocardiogram (ECG)), family history or their physical examination results.
Around 10,000 people die in Ireland from cardiovascular disease each year and represent over a third (36%) of all deaths.
Such deaths can be avoided – almost all heart disease (80%) can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and reducing the risk factors.
Women in Ireland are seven more times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer – one in two will die from cardiovascular disease.
The screening revealed that nearly 40% of women have a very high waist circumference of more than 88cm, compared to the average circumference of 80cm or less.