Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cardiovascular Diseases: a Global Concern

Although the world of the new millennium has seen many improvements in the health sector, the path of healing diseases is far to be overcome. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are still huge challenges for the medical society.  More people die annually from this kind of illness than from any other cause and that is the reason why it has been given an especial attention worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WTO), an estimated 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2008, representing 30% of global deaths. Coronary heart diseases and stroke are the main causes of these deaths (almost 80%). It is well known worldwide the main factors that increase the probability of getting a stroke: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, overweight, high blood pressure, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol.

Besides, low and middle-income countries are the most affected, about 80% of world’s death from CVD. As reported by the WHO, “people in low and middle-income countries are more exposed to risk factors such as tobacco (…). At the same time they often do not have the benefit of prevention programs compared to people in high-income countries.” Meanwhile, at a macro-economic level, it represents a heavy burden on the economies of low and middle-income countries. Non-communicable diseases – including cardiovascular and diabetes – are estimated to reduce GDP by 6,77% in low and middle-income countries facing rapid economic development.

The programs to fight against cardiovascular diseases are highly expensive. Integrated actions at country level, led by governments, are the means to maintain the people away from risk factors and, hence, not allowing it to become a burden on national economies.

There is no difference in Brazil. Around 300 thousands of people die from cardiovascular diseases each year, according to the Brazilian government. Nevertheless, by the public healthcare system (SUS), the government provides many preventive actions programs, diagnosis and free treatments for CVD.

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