Cardiovascular disease remains the world’s No. 1 killer, responsible for a third of global deaths every year. But, though the overall burden of CVD in developed countries is on a downward trajectory, cases of heart disease are actually increasing in some corners of the world.
Eighteen million people died from CVD in 2016, Vox reported Oct. 15. A quarter of those deaths took place in developed areas like the U.S. and Western Europe, where patients had access to high-quality treatments, preventive therapies and the tools to make critical lifestyle changes. Three-quarters, however, happened in economically and technologically deprived communities.
According to Vox, less than 1 percent of the $35 billion spent each year on health development assistance went to heart disease, even though it represents a major threat to all populations. Twenty-nine percent of that funding went to HIV/AIDS efforts, which represent just 4 percent of the global disease burden.
“Most of the attention and funding for global health has gone to infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and even Ebola,” the Vox report read. “Yet the nature of global disease is changing fast, and it’s changing fastest in poor countries.”
Western nations are also seeing a decline in young CVD deaths—just 15 to 20 percent of deaths from heart disease are in those under 70 years old. But in developing countries, more than half of people who die from CVD are under 70, and those numbers are going up.
“Neglecting the fact that heart disease is a major killer of the world’s poor means missing out on the opportunity to save millions of lives with simple interventions,” Vox wrote.
Read the full report below: