Although death rates have fallen substantially, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the single biggest killer in the UK and Europe, as well as a sizeable economic burden. EurActiv looks at the many facets of CVD.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for 52% of female deaths and 42% of male deaths in the EU. Approximately four million people in Europe and 1.9 million people in the EU die of cardiovascular disease each year, according to the European Society of Cardiology.
To reduce the number of deaths from heart diseases, EU countries agreed in November 2013 to tackle the underlying health determinants behind cardiovascular disease in the common health programme for 2014-2020 through “promoting health, preventing diseases and fostering supportive environments for healthy lifestyles”.
The EU wants cost-effective promotion and prevention measures for addressing tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy dietary habits and physical activity.
SPECIAL REPORT / Statins are already the United Kingdom’s most commonly prescribed medicines – roughly 6 million Brits take the drugs on a regular basis to lower the risk of a cardiovascular incident, in line with US practice. But in continental Europe, views tend to differ.
SPECIAL REPORT / If the UK is a leader among European countries in statin treatment and cardiac rehabilitation, it lags behind in addressing the behavioural causes of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as child obesity.
SPECIAL REPORT / Doctors are already able to calculate patients’ risk of getting cardiovascular disease based on their electronic medical records, including age, gender and smoking habits. Adding genetic assessments to the mix will make their job easier.