Let’s talk about cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Deividas

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health
Course: BSc (Hons) Public Health
Category: Allied and public health

23 November 2022

Nowadays, in the news, we usually see only headlines that people are most likely to read, which give profit to journalists, newspaper companies and others.

Unfortunately, every year, almost 18 million people around the world die from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of a stroke. Every 40 seconds, someone will have a heart attack, and there is more data which shows terrifying statistics about cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a term to describe disorders associated with blood vessels or the heart. There are many cardiovascular illnesses, but the most common are stroke, coronary heart disease, aortic disease and peripheral arterial disease. But what is the cause of these disorders?

Usually, many diseases are caused by high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. However, we could go beyond this and explore various aspects, such as social, economic and educational factors, which are the root cause of most diseases. I created a graph in which we can see various factors influencing CVD.

The first group is social determinants of health, the conditions where we live, are born, grow up, age and sex. They are initial factors which can have an impact on CVD development. The next factors are determinants of health which are socioeconomic status, educational level, access to healthcare and environment. Many studies proved that these factors significantly impact the occurrence of heart disease.

A graphic showing various factors that influence the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, which are elucidated in the text of this blog

The final group is the most recognisable in society and consist of various factors such as substance use, genetics, diet and physical activity level, and other diseases. All these factors are linked to each other and, as a result, strongly influence cardiovascular disease occurrence.

Let's take the example of John and Maria from the graph. Maria and John are both 50 years old but live in different countries and lifestyles. Let's predict who has a higher chance of heart disease development.

John was born and grew up in a high-income family in Japan. He has a higher education degree and works in an IT company. Since childhood, he has done a lot of sports and likes to travel, and he doesn't smoke or drink alcohol.

Maria grew up in China. All her life, she lived in an area with many factories around. Unfortunately, her family could not afford university, and she worked from a young age as a waiter. She doesn't have a lot of hobbies due to long work hours, but she loves traditional Chinese food. Also, she loves to relax after long and stressful shifts with a couple of glasses of wine.

Considering all factors, who has a higher chance of developing CVD? I will leave this question with you, and I hope you know the answer after this discussion.

This topic should be crucial for everyone as there is a really high chance that our loved ones or even ourselves can develop this life-threatening disease. There are some factors we can't avoid, but there are many that can prevent these illnesses and help us live a longer and better life.

Let's invite our friends and families for a walk when we go to the shop. Instead of cake, let's take some fruit and make a fruit salad. Instead of Netflix, watch some TED talks about cardiovascular disease and educate ourselves. And finally, let's encourage our parents to see doctors regularly and ensure all medicines are used as needed!

Disclaimer

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