Members of the United Nations have vowed to reduce premature cardiovascular disease mortality by 25 percent by 2025. To achieve the goal, countries have targeted cardiovascular disease risk factors such as tobacco use, diabetes, obesity and blood pressure.
If current risk factor trends continue, researchers estimate there would be 7.8 million premature deaths in 2025. However, if the U.N. achieves its risk factor targets, the number of premature deaths would be reduced to 5.7 million.
Lead researcher Gregory A. Roth, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues found that impact of the goals would vary widely across countries and geographic regions. They published their findings online in Circulation on Sept. 25.
“Our findings call for renewed efforts by countries to understand and then address the burden of [cardiovascular disease] risk factors in their communities so that health improvements will be shared by all people,” they wrote. “These results may provide countries and regions with a tool for setting priorities when resources for health are limited.”
The researchers analyzed data and methods from the Global Burden of Disease, Risk Factors, and Injuries (GBD) 2013 study for the years 1990 through 2013. They then evaluated if cardiovascular disease mortality in 1990 and 2013 was attributable to hypertension, tobacco smoking, diabetes and obesity.
The GBD defines cardiovascular disease mortality as ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic and other stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, aortic aneurysm, hypertensive heart disease, endocarditis, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions.
If the current trends continue, the risk of premature cardiovascular disease death in 2025 would be highest for men in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and for women in Oceania. The lowest risk would be found in Western Europe, high-income Asia Pacific and Australasia.
In the U.S., premature cardiovascular disease death rates are expected to decrease in 2025, although it would not be reduced by at least 25 percent. However, if the U.S. achieved its goals for reducing hypertension, tobacco smoking, diabetes and obesity, there would be a greater than 25 percent decrease in premature cardiovascular disease by 2025.
“Our estimates are strikingly different across geographic regions,” the researchers wrote. “For high-income regions already experiencing rapid declines in [cardiovascular disease] mortality, current targets appear too conservative and provide a relatively small additional benefit. However, for many low- and middle-income regions, a 25 percent reduction in premature [cardiovascular disease] mortality may occur only in a scenario in which all risk factor targets are achieved.”