Heart and blood vessel disease — also called heart disease or cardiovascular disease — includes numerous problems, including heart attack, stroke, heart valve problems, heart failure, and arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate).
Heart disease develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries.
This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Heart disease is a major disease worldwide. In a recent study, researchers find that nearly 18 million people died due to heart disease globally in 2015.
The team examined the global burden of disease and cardiovascular mortality over the course of 25 years – from 1990 to 2015 – based on the most recent Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study.
The GBD is an international consortium of more than 2,300 researchers in 133 countries.
The researchers found that in 1990, there were nearly 13 million deaths due to heart disease, and this number increased to 17.92 million in 2015.
In addition, the highest heart disease death rates occurred throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and many South Pacific island nations.
Countries like Japan, Andorra, Peru, France, Israel and Spain, on the contrary, showed the lowest heart disease death rates.
Overall, in the past 25 years, strong decrease in heart disease death rates were observed in all high-income and some middle-income countries.
A further look at the data showed that ischemic heart disease became the top leading cause of death in the world, whereas stroke and ischemic stroke were the second and third largest heart disease causes of disability-adjusted life years.
The researchers say that it is an alarming threat to global health.
Although people keep discussing how much scientists have progressed among the subspecialty, the disease state remains the number 1 killer in the world.
In addition, the medicine remains very expensive, and people don’t put efforts into promoting health at younger ages, which could be a cost-effective method to preventing the onset of the disease.
Governments, advocacy groups, clinicians, and communities should look to this new evidence when developing programs and policies that could reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and save more lives.
The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.