According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each year, accounting for 30 percent of all deaths worldwide. This estimate highlights a global epidemic, particularly of heart attacks and strokes. By the year 2030, research indicates that 23,600,000 people around the world will likely die from cardiovascular diseases.
The alarming global trends are also reflected in China. Recent studies show that about 6 people die of heart disease every minute and no less than 3 million patients lose their lives to the disease each year. In the future, the country’s aging population will contribute to the rise of cardiovascular disease. The proportion of persons over 65 years of age in the total population will double from 7 percent to 14 percent between 2010 and 2030, and the annual number of heart attacks and strokes is projected to increase by more than 50 percent.
Hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes are major risk factors that accounted for 60 to 70 percent of the cardiovascular disease risk among Chinese. The remaining 30 to 40 percent of CVD events in both men and women are likely due to air pollution and other aspects of urbanization, such as decreased physical activity, a diet high in fat and sodium, and increased stress.
Who should get a heart evaluation?
Unfortunately for many who suffer from heart disease, the first symptom of their condition is often death. In fact, patients who have no prior indication of heart disease often are undiagnosed through common cardiology care protocols. As a result, they may only begin treatment after suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Men over age 35 and women over 40 should have a heart scan to determine their risk of having a heart attack. With any one of the following risk factors, chances of having a heart attack or stroke are significantly increased: