Chronic Diseases

What is a ‘chronic disease’?

Chronic diseases are non-communicable diseases, that is, they are not passed from person to person. They are generally of long duration and slow progression.

Thrive Plymouth focuses on the four chronic diseases – cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease – that account for most deaths in Plymouth. Together these diseases account for approximately 54% of deaths in the city, that is 1,324 deaths out of a total of 2,453 deaths registered in the city during 2012.

When comparing deaths from these four diseases within the city and comparing Plymouth to England, the measure used is the rate of deaths per 10,000 population, and the rate is ‘age standardised’ which means it is adjusted to take into account the age-sex distribution of the population. This makes it easier to compare how common the disease is in different areas.

Plymouth has higher rates of death than England for three of the four chronic diseases included in the 4-4-54 construct. There are variations in the rates for the diseases within the city. Differences between wards are shown in the Thrive Plymouth Dashboard that lists wards in rank order according to levels of deprivation in the city, and shows:

Rates for deaths from all four diseases combined are higher in Plymouth than in England (56.6 compared to 52.7 per 10,000 population).

Rates of death for cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases are all higher in the more deprived wards of the city.