Reasons why deaths from heart attack and stroke are increasing

One health report gathered that as the global population rises over seven billion, a new report has shown that the number of deaths from hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other circulatory diseases is on the rise, climbing from 12.3 million deaths to 17.3 million.

The report also showed that efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases appear to be working as the rise in deaths is slower than the overall growth of the population.

This is coming on the heels of a recent survey that shows that hypertension rates in Nigeria jumped from 11 per cent in 1997 to 40 per cent in 2013.

Globally, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases increased by 41 percent between 1990 and 2013, climbing from 12.3 million deaths to 17.3 million deaths. Over the same period, death rates within specific age groups dropped by 39 percent, according to an analysis of data from 188 countries. Death rates from cardiovascular diseases were steady or fell in every region of the world except western sub-Saharan Africa, where the rates increased.

The study, published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, and the “Demographic and Epidemiologic Drivers of Global Cardiovascular Mortality,” was conducted by researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, IHME, at the University of Washington.

South Asia, which includes India, experienced the largest jump in total deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, with 1.8 million more deaths in 2013 than in 1990 — an increase of 97 percent.  In line with global trends, the increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease in India is driven by population growth and aging without the decrease in age-specific death rates found in many other countries.

“This pattern is reversed to some extent in the Middle East and North Africa, which includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan. In these regions, population growth and aging have been offset by a significant decline in age-specific death rates from cardiovascular disease, which has kept the increase in deaths to just fewer than 50 percent.

“Taken together as a region, the United States and Canada were among a small number of places with no detectable change in the number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, because aging and population growth balanced out declines in age-specific death rates. The same was true in southern Latin America, including Argentina and Chile, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“Two regions– central Europe and western Europe–have managed to do what their global peers have not by significantly reducing not only the death rates but also the total number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, which fell by 5.2 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, between 1990 and 2013. When looking at cardiovascular death rates, the high-income Asia Pacific region, which includes Japan, achieved the greatest decline globally.


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