Tackling cardiovascular disease surge worldwide requires collaboration

Mar 22, 2010

Tackling the increasing rates of cardiovascular disease in developing nations will require input from multiple partners, including the business community and international companies as well as global health and development agencies and the governments of these countries, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. More than 80 percent of deaths related to cardiovascular disease worldwide now occur in low- and middle-income countries; nearly 30 percent of all deaths in developing nations are caused by heart and circulatory disease.

Public groups and representatives from private industry, led by the International Food and Beverage Association, should collaborate on strategies to reduce people's consumption of salt, sugar, saturated fats, and -- all contributors to risk factors for developing . Success will require finding the right balance of regulatory policies from national governments and voluntary actions from industry because , food distribution and marketing systems, and cultural preferences vary across nations, noted the committee that wrote the report.

Pharmaceutical and medical technology firms, insurance companies, and public and aid groups should work together to make therapies, diagnostic tools, and preventive techniques for these diseases affordable and accessible in all nations, the report says. Many developing countries do not have the resources or infrastructure to take advantage of available tools and technologies. Given the toll that cardiovascular disease takes on nations' health and productivity, nongovernmental groups and professional health societies should advocate for charities, private foundations, and government aid agencies to earmark funding and other resources for initiatives to control the epidemic worldwide.

These are some of the recommendations included in the report, which lays out a vision for curbing and ultimately preventing cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income nations. The report describes short-term and long-term actions and points to roles that governments, international agencies, industries, and nonprofit groups should adopt.

"We know that cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death and disability in the developing world, but we are not doing enough to address it," said committee chair Valentin Fuster, director, Mount Sinai Heart, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City. "If this challenge is not met, it will be impossible to achieve better health worldwide," he added. "Leaders in the field of cardiovascular health need to think and act more globally, and it is also incumbent upon the global health and development community to do more to confront cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. This is a problem that will require strong leadership at the highest levels."

The rapid rise of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income nations demands solutions that can be implemented within a short time, the committee noted. Given that many developing nations have limited economic and political capacity to quickly gear up comprehensive disease reduction plans -- particularly for a multifaceted condition like cardiovascular disease -- these countries should in the near term prioritize steps that have been shown to be effective at reducing heart disease in industrialized nations. These strategies include reducing tobacco use, reducing the amount of salt in the food supply, and improving the delivery of medications to patients at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Policymakers in each country, working with their partners, will need to determine how best to carry out these risk-reduction initiatives in light of the particular conditions, infrastructure, and resources available in each nation, the report says. Strategies that have worked in one country may not work in another or may need to be implemented differently. For example, to reduce smoking, one nation might be able to effectively enforce a tax on tobacco products, while a public awareness campaign about the dangers of tobacco use and restrictions on smoking in public places might be more feasible in another country. "It is important to recognize that there is no single strategy that will work everywhere, so it is critical to search for locally relevant solutions that will be feasible in the settings where they are needed," Fuster said.

Current global health efforts to improve health care facilities, build the medical work force, and strengthen primary health care services in low- and middle-income nations need to include prevention and care for cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases as a focus. Initiatives to improve health systems in developing nations have historically focused on acute infectious diseases and maternal and child health and have not given attention to chronic disease.

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

2 out of 3 heart attacks and strokes in Asia

Jan 18, 2007

Given that around half of the world's burden of cardiovascular disease is carried by low and middle income countries in the region, these findings, published by the Asia-Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration (APCSC) in the ...

Worldwide Parkinson's cases will double in next 25 years

Jan 29, 2007

The number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in 15 of the world’s largest nations will double over the next generation, according to a study published in the January 30 issue of the journal Neurology. The study ...

Eating less salt could prevent cardiovascular disease

Apr 20, 2007

People who significantly cut back on the amount of salt in their diet could reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease by a quarter, according to a report in British Medical Journal today.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

14 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

16 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

16 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0