The Burden of CVD
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for as many deaths as infectious disease, nutritional deficiency and maternal and perinatal conditions combined. Four out of five cardiovascular disease deaths are in low and middle income countries and almost half of these deaths occur in people under 70 years of age.
Yet cardiovascular disease does not always kill. It often leaves its victims alive, but severely disabled, suffering great pain and frequently unable to work. By the year 2025, cardiovascular disease will be the biggest cause of disability adjusted life years, worldwide.
By targeting individuals in the prime of life, cardiovascular disease has a catastrophic societal impact on developing nations. The loss of family breadwinners to heart attacks and strokes erodes resources and infrastructure, impeding community development and locking impoverished families and communities in a perpetual cycle of poverty.
Chronic diseases—and particularly cardiovascular disease—are responsible for a loss of roughly 3% of GDP worldwide. India alone stands to lose approximately $175 billion in the next 7 years due to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. For China, the cost is even higher: $385 billion. On a more positive note, reduced mortality from heart disease alone since 1970 has added up to $1.5 trillion per year in U.S. savings.
With the appropriate interventions, 80% of all cardiovascular disease could be prevented. But, if left unchecked, cardiovascular disease in low and middle income countries will increase by 17% in the next ten years. By 2020, 40% of all deaths in the developing world will be due to cardiovascular disease.