Cardiovascular disease: emergency and leading cause of death in the world. Medicitalia Scientific Editorial Date of publication: 29 September 2021 4. The first cause of death in the world are cardiovascular diseases, i.e.
All those pathologies that affect the heart and blood vessels: among these ischemic heart diseases such as myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, thrombosis and arrhythmias, and cerebrovascular ones such as ischemic stroke.
Spread of cardiovascular diseases
The numbers say that the deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases every year are 18 million worldwide and it is estimated that, in 2030, they will reach 24 million. For this reason, the World Health Organization in recent years has launched a worldwide prevention campaign whose aim is to reduce mortality due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease.
The impact of cardiovascular diseases is constantly increasing and also due to the aging of the population, a factor that favors the increase of structural heart diseases such as, for example, degenerative diseases of the heart valves.
Cardiovascular diseases: spread around the world
- Even in Italy, deaths from heart diseases represent 34.8% of the total causes of death: the first cause both among men (31.7%) and among women (37.7%) which, in absolute terms, means that vascular diseases kill 127,000 women and 98,000 men every year, often even at a young age.
- An interesting fact concerns cardiac arrests which, in Italy, are about 60,000 per year: only 58% have an intervention with the life-saving maneuver (i.e. heart massage and ventilations) and in 28% an intervention with the defibrillator, an instrument that is it is proven crucial in cases that otherwise would have been lethal.
In this regard, on August 28, 2021, Law no. 116/2021 on automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) aimed at making first aid more efficient in cases of cardiac arrest: the law provides for the introduction of the obligation to teach resuscitation maneuvers in schools, the equipment of the defibrillator at sports clubs professional and amateur and a series of economic measures to favor the presence of this equipment in public places, such as airports, railway stations, schools, ports and means of transport.
But the most important aspect of the law is that, in an emergency, anyone will be authorized to use an AED: in the absence of health personnel or operators with specific training, even an ordinary citizen will be able to carry out resuscitation maneuvers with a defibrillator.
The risk factors for heart disease
Cardiovascular risk factors are divided into modifiable and non-modifiable factors.
- Age: The risk of cardiovascular problems increases with age
- Sex: the risk is higher in men, in women it increases after menopause
Heredity: Having cases of cardiovascular events in the family increases the possibility of suffering from heart disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are often attributable to an incorrect lifestyle, in particular:
- the smoke
- wrong feeding
- low physical activity.
These aspects lead to the development of various diseases that increase cardiovascular risk, including:
Hypertension, ie the constant increase in blood pressure, defined as a “silent killer” precisely because it does not give symptoms and often people do not know they have it;
High cholesterol, also a value that needs to be monitored with periodic blood tests as it does not manifest itself in any way;Diabetes: in patients with diabetes mellitus cardiovascular diseases represent 60% of the causes of death;
Intervening on one’s life habits can be a valid defense tool against cardiovascular risk and is the reason why information campaigns on heart disease are strongly based on prevention, also remembering how early diagnosis and timely intervention can increase expectation. of life.