Cardiovascular Disease

Global CVD Almanac

JACC released a special “almanac-style” issue highlighting the growing burden of cardiovascular disease worldwide. 

The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors study (GBD) is the world’s largest effort to track population cardiovascular health, recording global, regional, and national trends in mortality and disability since 1990. 

The analysis found that CVD remains the leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 20M deaths and 400M disability-adjusted life-years lost in 2021. Here are the ACC’s main 2021 takeaways:

  • Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of CV death, accounting for 9.4M deaths.
  • High systolic BP remained the leading modifiable risk factor for CV deaths, accounting for 10.8M. 
  • Dietary risks (like too few healthy and too many unhealthy foods) accounted for 6.6M CV deaths. 
  • CVD risk attributable to elevated systolic blood pressure was highest in Central Asia, Central Sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe.
  • CVD burden attributable to dietary risks was highest in Central Asia, Oceania, and Eastern Europe.
  • Central Asia had the highest age-standardized total CVD mortality at 517 deaths per 100k people, nearly 7 times higher than in Asia Pacific. 

On a brighter note, Australasia had the largest reduction (64.2%) in age-standardized CVD per 100k out of all other regions since 1990, driven by decreases in ischemic heart disease. 

The Takeaway

The ACC hopes to bring renewed attention to troubling trends related to the global CVD burden. The multi-year collaboration helps move the field forward by not only tracking CV risk and disease but also gauging whether interventions are actually effective. 

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