Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

39% of all adult deaths are caused by chest, heart or stroke conditions. In 2015, 6,009 deaths were due to these conditions, which is 16 deaths per day (1). 209,377 people in Northern Ireland are living with these conditions, which is 11% of the population or 1 in 9. (2).

Here is the breakdown of statistics about chest, heart and stroke conditions.




  • Currently in NI there are 38,530 people living with COPD (2% of the population) (2)
  • 117,613 people living in NI are living with asthma (6% of the population) (2)


  • In 2015, diseases of the respiratory system accounted for 14% of all deaths, 6 deaths per day (2,236) – note this figure excludes lung cancer (1)
  • In 2015, 6% (934) of deaths registered in Northern Ireland were due to COPD. This accounts for 42% of all respiratory deaths (1)




  • The number of people currently living in NI (2015) with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is 74,525 (4% of the population) (2)
  • In 2014/15, over 4,132 people in Northern Ireland were admitted to hospital with a heart attack (6), which is 11 people per day.
  • The number of people currently living in NI (2015/16) with heart failure is 15,702 (1% of the population) (2)


  • In 2015, 18% of all deaths (2,813) were caused by diseases of the circulatory system. 1,825 were attributed to coronary heart disease and 988 to stroke (1)




  • The number of people currently living in NI with stroke and TIA is 36,020 (2% of the population) (2)
  • In 2014/15 3,819 people were admitted to hospital in Northern Ireland with a primary diagnosis of stroke – 10 per day (6).
  • The number of people in Northern Ireland living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF), which increases the risk of stroke, is 32,701 (2% of the population) (2)


  • In 2015, 988 people died following a stroke, which equates to almost 3 people each day (1)



  • The number of people currently living in NI with hypertension (high blood pressure) is 260,032 – 14% of the population. (2)
  • In 2015, the total number of deaths in NI was 15,548 (1)
  • In 2015, the main cause of death was cancer, 4,361 deaths (28%) (1)
  • Cancer, all circulatory diseases and all respiratory diseases remain the three largest causes of death in NI, accounting for 60% of all deaths (1)
  • Over the last 3 decades the number of deaths due to circulatory diseases has fallen from 8,093 in 1992 to 3,773 in 2015 (4)



  • Smoking causes over 2300 deaths per year in Northern Ireland and robs 10 –15 years of healthy life (5)
  • 22% of the population are current smokers. This figure for 2015/16 is unchanged from the previous year and is higher than other parts of the UK. (5)



  • In 2015, there were 310 alcohol related deaths in NI – 210 men, 109 women (1)



  • The Health Survey Northern Ireland (2015/16) reported that 16% of children aged 2–10 years old were overweight and 9% were classified as obese (3)
  • The Health Survey also found that 34% of adults in Northern Ireland are classified as overweight and 26% as obese. 39% of adults were underweight or normal weight (3)
  • Men (65%) were more likely to be overweight or obese than women (57%) (3)
  • The Health Survey NI 2014 reported that 53% of adults met the new recommendations of at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. Men (60%) were more likely than women (47%) to meet recommendations (3)
  • 18% of adults met the recommendations of at least two sessions of muscle strengthening exercise per week. Men (25%) were more likely than women (14%) to meet recommendations (3)
  • Northern Ireland is at the bottom of the UK scale for physical activity in children and youths. Only 43.4% of children meet the recommendations for more than 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (note 7)




  1. Data tables on deaths registered in NI in 2015
  2. Prevalence data in the Quality and Outcomes Framework Disease Prevalence (2015/16 data)
  3. Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16
  4. Central Survey Unit, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). (2013) Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey
  5. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland. (2012) Ten–year Tobacco Control Strategy for Northern Ireland.
  6. Hospital Inpatient System 2013/14. Admissions are estimated using discharge episodes, stroke and heart attack is identified using the below International Classification of Disease (version 10) codes.
  7. Harrington, D.M., Belton, S., Coppinger, T., Cullen, M., Donnelly, A., Dowd, K., Keating, T., Layte, R., Murphy, M., Murphy, N., Murtagh, E. & Woods, C. 2014, “Results from Ireland’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth”,Journal of physical activity & health,  11 Suppl 1, pp. S63-8.