The largest proportion of global mortality is attributed to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), withmore than three-fourths of CVD relateddeaths occur in low-and-middle incomecountries. The primaryrisk factors of CVD are strongly correlated with health behaviours and overall physical condition. CVD can be effectively prevented by controlling the associated risk factors and proper medications management.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer in the world. Globally, about 17.5 million people die every year due to CVD. More than three-fourths of the deaths occur in developing countries. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 3 is to reduce premature mortality through prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases by 2030. In the World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health in Mexico in June 2016, the World Heart Foundation declared 25 per cent reduction of premature CVD related death by 2025. In September 22, 2016, World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Heart Federation, World Stroke Organization, International Society of Hypertension, World Hypertension League and other partner organisations took the ‘Global Hearts Initiative’ to prevent and control the CVD.
CVD consists of heart and its circulation. It includes coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, heart failure, congenital heart disease (CHD), valvular disease, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, stroke, rheumatic heart disease, venous disease and peripheral arterial disease.
CVD occurs when arteries become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty materials (atheroma) within the walls. When atheroma breaks away from the arteries, after clotting it can block coronary and obstruct the oxygen-rich blood supply to the heart muscles. Then heart muscles become permanently damaged and cause heart attack. When the blood clot blocks the arteries of the brain, then it causes stroke. Eighty per cent of the CVD patients died due to heart attack and strokes. Narrow arteries can’t carry enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart, that can cause pain and discomfort in the chest called angina.
The risk factors for CVD include unhealthy behaviours; e.g smoking, less physical activities, salt containing diet and overweight, and health factors including cholesterol, Blood Pressure (BP) and glucose. High BP is the highest risk factor to develop CVD. BP related with several genetic factors and environment also influence to contribute. Genetic factors influence about 30-50 per cent and environmental factors about 50 per cent for developing BP. The factors including enzymes, receptors and channels that regulate BP. About 50 per cent of the hypertensive patients develop stroke and ischemic heart disease. Next is smoking, the most important preventable cause of death for CVD. It causes about 10 per cent of CVD. Globally, over 1.1 billion people smoke tobacco as of 2015, and about 6 million people die and it will increase to more than 8 million in 2030. It makes fatty substance in the arteries and causes coronary heart diseases that leads to heart attack. Patients with diabetes are also at high risk to develop cardiovascular disease. CVD is the leading cause of diabetes related morbidity and mortality. Obese people are prone to diabetes due to less physical activities that increase the risk of CVD.
Congenital Heart Diseases (CHD) are associated with genetic syndromes and about 30 per cent of the congenital heart diseases are related to genetic illnesses. Environmental factors including rubella infection, significant alcohol intake, insulin-dependent diabetes and obesity of the mother are also contributing to develop CHD.
The genetic risk factor includes the family history influences for CVD. If both father and mother suffer from heart disease before the age of 55, the risk of getting heart disease rise to 50 per cent compared to other people. There are also increased chances of a stroke, if there is any family history.
Hypertension, high lipid profile and type 2 diabetes also have the genetic component to develop CVD. It means, if father or brother develops CVD under the age of 55 and mother or sister under the age of 65 diagnose with CVD, then screening is recommended after the age of 40 years for CVD.
CVD also varies in different ethnic groups. CVD burden is the highest in the South Asian population. It is the most alarming that younger age groups in South Asia develop CVD more compared to other continents. With the conventional risk factors, congenital, adult metabolic, environmental pollutions, social, and psychological factors also act as risk factors for developing CVD. In South Asian people, the risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes are higher compared to other UK populations. Compared to women, men are more prone to develop CVD at an early age. With age, the chances of getting CVD also increase. Stress, alcohol consumption, and type of work further influence the development of CVD.
WHO has developed evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of CVD. People need primary prevention who have the risk for developing CVD and secondary prevention to avert recurrence of the CVD. The people who are at risk need to maintain risk prediction chart for specific preventive actions and the degree of intensity they need. However, CVD risk is higher in contrast of the risk prediction chart for those who are on antihypertensive therapy, obese, have family history, maintain sedentary lifestyle, elevated triglyceride, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, homocysteine, apolipoprotein B or Lipoprotein(a), fasting glycaemia, impaired glucose tolerance, microalbuminuria, low HDL cholesterol, increase pulse rate, socioeconomic deprivation, and premature menopause in case of female. For the secondary prevention, intensive lifestyle interventions and appropriate drug therapy are empirical.
For prevention and early detection of CVD, exploring the risk factors is crucial. Unstructured clinical narrative health records data can be extracted and calculated to get the risk scores for developing CVD. Data from electronic health record (EHR) systems are a major source for identification of risk factors and assessment of the prognosis of heart diseases. Information extraction (IE) system has been used to take out unstructured data from EHRs and risk factors were successfully evaluated by assigning indicators and time attributes.
Researchers and institutes have developed different CVD risk assessment calculator based on the scoring system. These systems can help the patients to predict the risk and control the risk factors to prevent CVD. Framingham CVD risk calculator includes age, sex, present smoking status, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), systolic blood pressure and drug history for blood pressure control. The estimation was calculated for CVD within 10 years. The scoring systems didn’t include the diet and level of smoking as a risk factor. Reynolds risk scoring system wasdeveloped for men and women separately and includes family history and C-reactive protein with the Framingham’s variables.Some other scoring systems included height, weight, race, diabetes, history of heart attack, family history, physical activities and diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) developed a Health Campaign especially for the young and adult people to avoid smoking and smokeless tobacco products, be active by engaging daily physical activities, eat healthy diets, maintain healthy weight and control blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies found that ideal cardiovascular health metrics significantly reduced CVD, cardiovascular mortality and overall all cause of death. Improved cardiovascular health metrics can reduce death related to coronary heart diseases between 2010 and 2020 by 30 per cent. Interventions were recommended to complete cessation of smoking and stop environmental exposure. Asking patients to stop smoking refers to smoking cessation programme. Patients should control blood pressure <140>
Diabetic patients should check blood glucose and maintain lifestyle modifications and treatment. Patients should take antiplatelet and antihypertensive therapy when necessary. CVD patients should have influenza vaccine annually. Depressive illness patients should be evaluated and treated, and cardiac rehabilitation programme should be implemented. Evidence approves that inclusive risk factor management can improve survival, reduce recurrence rate, and improve quality of life. Healthcare provider’s support to the patients, is also essential for the wellbeing of the patients.
CVD causes an enormous burden in health and economy globally. Access to healthcare facilities and prevention of CVD intervention is inexpensive. To implement the universal health insurance system can reduce the risk of CVD; however, primary prevention is the key. In South Asia, one of the main risk factors is shifting in dietary behaviour for CVD. Low cost, local tailored intervention practice for changing the health risk behaviour can prevent CVD. To improve cardiovascular health, (1) changing the individual level lifestyle and treatment of the risk factor, (2) encouraging healthcare providers and patients to improve healthy behaviour, and (3) targeting schools, worship places, workplaces, local communities and, consequently the states and the whole nation, is important. It needs innovative research, advanced technologies and appropriate interventions to save lives. Moreover, along with the health professionals, governments, businesses and public partners need to be involved to achieve the goals.
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