Health Statistics - Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke
Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

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

36% of all adult deaths are caused by chest, heart or stroke conditions. In 2016, 5,602 deaths were due to these conditions, which is 15 deaths per day (1). 208,220 people in Northern Ireland are living with these conditions, which is 11% of the population or 1 in 9. (2).




  • Currently in NI there are 39,965 people living with COPD (2% of the population) (2)
  • 120,018 people living in NI are living with asthma (6% of the population) (2)


  • In 2016, diseases of the respiratory system accounted for 13% of all deaths (1,973)– note this figure excludes lung cancer (1)
  • In 2016, 6% (896) of deaths registered in Northern Ireland were due to COPD. This accounts for 45% of all respiratory deaths (1)




  • The number of people currently living in NI (2016/17) with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is 74,320 (4% of the population) (2)
  • In 2016/17, 4,591 people in Northern Ireland were admitted to hospital with a heart attack (6), which is almost 13 people per day.
  • The number of people currently living in NI (2016/17) with heart failure is 16,763 (1% of the population) (2)


  • In 2016, 24% of all deaths (3629) were caused by diseases of the circulatory system. Of that number,  1602 were attributed to coronary heart disease and 1022 to stroke (1)




  • The number of people currently living in NI with stroke and TIA is 36,741 (2% of the population) (2)
  • In 2016/17 3784 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 34,777 (2% of the population) (2)


  • In 2016, 1022 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 264,174 – 14% of the population. (2)
  • In 2016, the total number of deaths in NI was 15,430 (1)
  • In 2016, the main cause of death was cancer, 4,538 deaths (29%) (1)
  • Cancer, all circulatory diseases and all respiratory diseases remain the three largest causes of death in NI, accounting for 45% 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 3,629 in 2016 (4)



  • Smoking causes over 2300 deaths per year in Northern Ireland and robs 10 –15 years of healthy life (5)
  • 20% of the population are current smokers. This figure for 2016/17 has fallen from 22% over the last three years but remains higher than other parts of the UK. (5)



  • In 2016, there were 289 alcohol related deaths in NI – 184 men, 105 women (1)



  • The Health Survey Northern Ireland (2016/17) reported that 17% of children aged 2–15 years old were overweight and 8% were classified as obese (3)
  • The Health Survey also found that 36% of adults in Northern Ireland are classified as overweight and 27% as obese. 38% of adults were underweight or normal weight (3)
  • The Health Survey NI 2016/17 reported that 55% of adults met the new recommendations of at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. Men (61%) were more likely than women (51%) to meet recommendations (3)
  • 44% of adults reported having over four hours of sedentary time per day on weekdays and 54% had over four hours of sedentary time per day on weekends.
  • Northern Ireland is at the bottom of the UK scale for physical activity in children and youths scoring a D minus in the 2016 report. 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 2016

  1. Prevalence data in the Quality and Outcomes Framework Disease Prevalence (2016/17 data)

  1. Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

  1. Central Survey Unit, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). (2013)Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey

  1. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland. (2012) Ten-year Tobacco Control Strategy for Northern Ireland.

  1. Hospital Inpatient System 2016/157. Admissions are estimated using primary diagnosis, using the below International Classification of Disease (Version 10) codes. Stroke (I60-I64), Heart attack (I21,I22), Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)

  1. 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.