HEALTH experts last night revealed a “perfect storm” of smoking, drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise means that, every year, hundreds of Paisley men and women are being sent to an early grave.
They spoke out after a shocking new report highlighted the town as one of the worst anywhere in the UK when it comes to heart disease.
The figures show that almost 900 people in Renfrewshire died from heart disease between 2008 and 2010.
Now Buddies are being urged to examine their lifestyle and ask if they are doing enough to protect themselves from the country’s single biggest killer.
Fiona MacKay, head of planning and health improvement for Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership, said: “Renfrewshire’s record on heart disease is not one we can be proud of.
“There’s not really one reason why Paisley and the other towns nearby are any worse than other areas, although you could say there is a perfect storm with the fact that we have high smoking rates here, combined with poor diet and poor exercise rates.”
Latest figures released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland expose just how far Renfrewshire’s heart disease shame has reached.
In a two-year period, a total of 522 men and 355 women from Paisley and the surrounding towns and villages succombed to heart disease.
And there were a further 451 deaths attributed to coronary problems in neighbouring East Renfrewshire.
The Renfrewshire figures work out at around 155 fatalities per 100,000 residents, putting the Paisley area in the top five worst offenders for heart disease in Scotland.
Only Shetland, Orkney, Eilean Sir and Stirling have worse rates north of the border.
Renfrewshire is also one of the worst local authority areas for heart disease across the UK, sitting in the top 30 out of 408 council areas.
However, NHS chiefs insist major efforts are being made in a bid to turn things around.
Ms MacKay added: “We are doing a number of things to improve the situation, such as our Keep Well programme, which aims to have rolled out free health checks to every GP surgery in Renfrewshire by April and will offer people advise on how to make healthy changes to their lives.”
Bosses at the BHF also say they are doing all they can to get the hearts of Renfrewshire residents beating more healthily.
And the nation’s heart charity is urging people throughout the Paisley area to take part in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 24, to help raise vital funds for its work.
This will involve wearing something red to work or school in return for a donation to BHF coffers.
Carole Nicol, the BHF’s fundraising boss in Scotland, said: “The figures published in our report give a snapshot of the state of the nation’s heart health.
“Whether you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, we are working to ensure these conditions can one day be eliminated.
“There’s never been a better time to give a bit more thought to your own heart health – and that of the people you love – so we want people to get involved during National Heart Month.”
For more information, visit www.bhf.org.uk/red or call 0131 555 5891.