Understanding the prevention and treatment needs for cardiovascular disease
What does the current picture of cardiovascular disease in Europe look like?
Surprisingly for many, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is Europe’s leading cause of death – not cancer, as many people would assume. Last year, over 60 million people in the EU – more than the population of Italy – were living with CVD.
While there has been some progress in understanding the prevention and treatment needs for CVD, it often does not receive the attention it duly deserves. As an industry, we have a responsibility to continue to shine a spotlight on this critical health issue and drive innovation that can protect lives.
Why does it continue to be Europe’s leading cause of death?
There is no one answer to this question. The causes and risk factors for CVD are many and highly varied, as reflected in clinical guidelines. The recent updates for the prevention of CVD from the European Society of Cardiology now include direction to minimise the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events through a diverse range of management strategies that go beyond the tradition of diet and lifestyle management. Such topics include measurement of frailty, psychosocial factors, goals for lipid levels, blood pressure, diabetes, air pollution and body composition.
I feel certain misunderstandings of CVD contribute to the unacceptable levels of mortality we see across Europe. There is a perception that CVD is a condition that affects only older generations which is simply not true. This adds to the vast numbers of people with undetected CV risk factors, meaning that when they finally have an event, it is more serious than it would have been if they had identified and managed the risks at an earlier stage.