Many factors combine together to affect the health of individuals and communities. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. To a large extent, factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, and our relationships with friends and family all have considerable impacts on health, whereas the more commonly considered factors such as access and use of health care services often have less of an impact.
How long people live for
Currently, in Herefordshire men expect to live on average for 80.1 years and women for 83.6 years. Both figures have declined slightly in recent years. For men this figure is similar to England, but for women it is longer. Healthy life expectancy in Herefordshire is longer than nationally for both men and women.
Mental health is an issue of national and local concern and parental mental illness is one of most common reasons for children to need social services involvement. Around 4,900 young people in Herefordshire are living with a parent with severe mental health issues.
What conditions people live with
As more people live longer, more of us are living with chronic long-term health conditions. In Herefordshire, rates of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, are all higher than nationally.
What people die of
The mortality rate in Herefordshire has been falling and is lower than nationally. Cancer and diseases of the circulatory system are the biggest killers although rates for both are decreasing. Conversely, the death rate for mental and behavioural disorders, such as dementia, is increasing. Premature mortality rates continue a downward trend and are lower than nationally. However, the rate remains higher for men than women. An individual is also 1.3 times more likely to die prematurely in the most deprived areas of the county compared with the least deprived.