Can Reduce Blood Flow To The Heart Impac The Brain Cardiovascular Disease is Killing Us!

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Cardiovascular Disease is Killing Us!

By all indications, we are facing a global pandemic. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the cause of more than 50% of deaths, not only in developed countries, but the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected: 82% of CVD deaths occur. in low- and middle-income countries and occurs almost equally in men and women. WHO predicts that by 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases. These are predicted to remain the leading causes of death. The largest percentage increase will be in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The largest increase in deaths will occur in the Southeast Asian region.

CVD costs include: direct costs, which include expenditures for hospital care, prescription drugs, physician care, care in other institutions, and additional health expenditures such as costs for other professionals, capital costs, public health, health research, etc.; plus indirect costs – include the value of the economic impact lost as a result of disability, whether short-term or long-term, or as a result of premature death; other costs may include the value of time lost due to work and/or leisure activities of family members or friends caring for patients.

CVD are a group of cardiovascular diseases including:

• coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle

• cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels that supply the brain

• hypertension – high blood pressure

• peripheral arterial disease – disease of the blood vessels that supply the arms and legs

• rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and valves due to rheumatic fever caused by streptococcal bacteria

• heart failure – a condition in which a problem with the structure or function of the heart reduces its ability to provide sufficient blood flow for the body’s needs

• congenital heart defect – malformation of the heart structure at birth

• deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the veins of the legs that can dislodge and travel to the heart and lungs.

Heart attacks and strokes are usually acute events and are mostly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is the accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can also be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or blood clots.

The burden of cardiovascular disease should not be measured by deaths alone. CVDs cause enormous economic costs and human burdens. CVD costs EU healthcare systems just under USD 260 billion, representing a per capita cost of more than USD 500 per year, representing 10% of EU healthcare expenditure. Looking at these direct costs, we have greatly underestimated the true cost of CVD. Production losses due to death and disease amounted to USD 55 billion. The cost of informal care for patients with CVD is another significant non-health cost, estimated at just under US$60 billion. These are only the economic costs… the true cost of suffering and lost lives in human terms is incalculable.

According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the staggering burden of cardiovascular disease in the United States in 2009, including health care expenditures and lost productivity due to death and disability, was more than $475 billion. By comparison, in 2008 the estimated cost of all cancers and benign tumors was US$228 billion.

The economic burden of CVD is no longer only a concern of the wealthy, industrialized world. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, CVD is the leading cause of death in developing countries. The economic impact is felt both as a cost to health systems and as a loss of income and productivity for those directly affected by the disease and for caregivers of those with CVD who stop working.

This is exacerbated in developing countries, where CVD affects a large proportion of working-age adults. In China, direct costs are estimated at more than US$40 billion, or 4% of gross national income. In South Africa, 25% of government spending on health care is devoted to CVD. Researchers have already estimated that between the developing economies of Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Mexico, 21 million years of future productive life are lost each year to CVD. Obesity has recently overtaken smoking as the “biggest modifiable risk factor” affecting how long and how well we live, new studies show. Smoking has long been known to be a major cause of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, emphysema and many other health problems. An estimated two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and 50 percent of them are actually obese. The Mayo Clinic defines obesity as “an excess amount of body fat that is more than just a cosmetic problem.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. Surprisingly, obesity is gradually becoming a more common risk factor than smoking. We have been hearing for years how smoking is the number one cause of a range of diseases and life-threatening conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease; however, recent studies have shown that obesity is beginning to eclipse the risks associated with smoking and drinking – and at an alarming rate. In 2008, obesity cost the US an estimated $147 billion, and there shouldn’t be much of a reprieve in 2010. In fact, Thomson Reuters estimates that obese people will spend an average of 40 percent more on medical expenses in the coming years — or $1,429 more per year than people in the “normal weight range.” The most common costs of CVD are related to the incidence of heart failure, which increases with age. In 2000, about 12.7 percent of the American population was 65 years of age or older. In 2020, 16.5 percent of them will be in this age group.

According to the CDC, 70 percent of the US population with heart failure is 60 years of age or older, indicating that the prevalence of heart failure is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Ironically, another factor that has led to an increase in the number of people living with heart failure is the success of treating heart attacks. More effective treatments have led to improved survival rates after heart attacks. According to the CDC, more than 20 percent of men will develop heart failure within six years of a heart attack. An even greater percentage (more than 40 percent) of women will develop heart failure during this time after a heart attack. An aging population and an improved health outlook for heart attack victims combine to account for the roughly threefold increase in the annual incidence of heart failure seen over the past 10 years.

These factors will also increase the economic impact of heart failure. This is true even though the survival of patients with heart failure has improved due to treatment with heart drugs. Human costs Heart failure imposes costs on patients and their families in terms of additional difficulties patients have in carrying out normal daily activities. This human cost was examined in depth in a recent study by scientists at the University of Michigan Health System and the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Health System, based on survey responses from 10,626 heart failure patients age 65 and older. The study found that compared to people without the disease, people with heart failure were:

• Much more likely to be disabled

• He is much more likely to have trouble with normal daily activities, including things like walking around the room

• More likely to be in nursing homes

• More likely to have been in a nursing home in the past two years

• More likely to receive home care

• More likely to have had clinical conditions more common in older adults (such as self-harm due to falls, urinary incontinence and dementia)

The main factor that determines the cost of heart failure treatment is the high frequency of hospitalizations. A large percentage of the medical costs associated with heart failure are due to the need for patients to be hospitalized. Patients with heart failure are at high risk of hospitalization. Results from the National Hospital Discharge Survey show that heart failure hospitalizations have increased significantly, from more than 400,000 in 1979 to more than 1.1 million in 2004, accounting for nearly 2 percent of all hospital admissions in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization among people on Medicare. Rehospitalization rates within six months of discharge are as high as 50 percent. The top three causes of hospitalization for heart failure patients are fluid overload (55 percent), angina (chest pain) or heart attack (25 percent), and irregular heart rhythm (15 percent). Effective treatment of fluid overload is increasingly needed, not only to improve the prognosis of patients with heart failure, but also to improve their quality of life. Recurrent hospitalizations are poor predictors of a patient’s prognosis and quality of life and result in increased health care costs.

In 2009, Dr. Launching Canada’s first comprehensive heart health strategy and action plan, Eldon Smith said: “Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is Canada’s No. 1 killer and public health threat, costing the economy more than $22 billion annually.” That’s over $600 for every man, woman and child without trying to quantify the years lost, the quality of life lost and the love lost.

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