Health Care

Cancer overtakes heart disease as leading cause of death

Cancer overtakes heart disease as leading cause of death”

Jeremy Pearson, of the British Heart Foundation, said "huge progress" meant many people were surviving heart attacks and strokes but growing numbers were living with "disability and the debilitating after effects" of cardiovascular disease.

Medicines to treat high cholesterol and blood-pressure in wealthier countries have helped lower heart disease-related mortality rates in the past few years, scientists noted.

CVD occurred more often in low- (7.1 cases per 1,000 person-years) and in middle-income (6.8 cases per 1,000 person-years) countries than in high-income countries (4.3 cases per 1,000 person-years).

Whereas heart problems stays, for now, the main reason for mortality worldwide amongst middle-aged adults - accounting for 40% of all deaths - that's not the case in high-income global locations, the place most cancers now kills twice as many individuals as coronary heart illness, the findings confirmed.

Authors of both studies acknowledged some limitations.

The findings backed up a larger 2017 study that found that cancer was now causing more deaths than heart disease among people aged 50 to 69 in high-income countries, the authors said.

A second report from the PURE study explored the relative contribution - population attributable factor, or PAF - of 14 modifiable risk factors to cardiovascular disease among 155,722 community-dwelling, middle-aged people without a prior history of heart disease, within the same 21 countries.

Overall, modifiable risk factors, including metabolic, behavioural, socioeconomic and psychosocial factors, strength and environment, accounted for 70% of all CVD cases globally.

Poor countries saw heart disease causing the most deaths (41 per cent), while wealthier middle-income (41 per cent) and high-income (23 per cent) were less affected by it.

There is an inverse association between use of hospital care and effective medication versus deaths, suggesting that lower quality health care may be responsible, at least in part, for the higher mortality in poorer countries. The study noted that there was no accurate estimate for earnings for Palestine, which was among the many countries included. In particular, PURE does not include data from west Africa, north Africa or Australia; the number of participants from the Middle East is modest; and data from LICs are predominantly from south Asia with a few African countries.

The PURE study is the only large prospective worldwide cohort study that involves substantial data from a large number of MIC and LIC, as well as HIC, and employs standardised and concurrent methods of sampling, measurement and follow-up. Responding to the findings in the study, Chennai-based diabetologist Dr V Mohan stressed on the importance of controlling air pollution. "The value of collecting similar data to inform policy in a wider range of countries is clear, while improving lifestyle choices and modifying their social and commercial determinants remain a challenge", Read and Wild wrote. In the middle-income countries Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Malaysia and the Philippines, there was one cardio vascular death for every cancer death.

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