More than 10,000 people living in poverty in Buckinghamshire suffer from heart or breathing issues, new data suggests.
Public health organisations have raised the alarm to warn of disastrous consequences if people cannot heat their homes this winter.
New estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest around 94,710 people were living in poverty in private households in Bucks as of March 2021, and 11,860 (13 percent) of who had a cardiovascular or respiratory condition.
A separate study by the Institute of Health Equity at University College London warned of “dangerous consequences” on health for those living in fuel poverty, particularly children.
Director of the institute Sir Michael Marmot said: “Warm homes, nutritious food and a stable job are vital building blocks for health.
“If we are constantly worrying about making ends meet it puts a strain on our bodies, resulting in increased stress, with effects on the heart and blood vessels and a disordered immune system.”
To come up with the figures, the ONS relied on various sources, including the 2021 census data and information on health conditions collected during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the research didn’t suggest that rates of the two conditions were higher for those in poverty than for the general population, the ONS said that as people in poverty are more exposed to the cold, they are more likely to be hospitalised or die as a result of them.
Across England, 10.8 million people were living in poverty as of March 2021 – 1.3 million whom were estimated to have heart of breathing issues, with a particularly high concentration in coastal areas and in the North West.
In South East, around 214,645 (12 percent) people living in poverty were estimated to suffer of heart or breathing problems.
Around 41 percent of people across UK are worried that the cost of living crisis is impacting their physical health, a recent survey for the Royal Society of Public Health found.
The organisation’s chief executive William Roberts said the UK "cannot afford to be on the back foot" when it comes to tackling health inequalities.
“The cost-of-living crisis is a public health crisis and prevention of ill-health is key to supporting the financial growth and wellbeing of the nation,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have prioritised health and social care in the Autumn Statement with a further £8 billion, on top of previous record funding, to ensure people can access high quality care as soon as possible.”
“We are supporting people with the cost-of-living crisis, with £1,200 of support for the most vulnerable households and have provided more than £3.4 billion this year to local authorities in England to tackle issues including alcohol use, obesity and smoking.”