Cardiovascular diseases, which include heart disease and stroke, are responsible for a third of deaths around the globe, according to data released from the American College of Cardiology earlier this week.
By analyzing every country in the world over the past 25 years, researchers found that the countries with the highest amount of cardiovascular deaths are located in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania.
Japan, Andorra, France, Israel, Spain and Peru reported the lowest rates of cardiovascular diseases.
“It is an alarming threat to global health,” said Dr. Gregory Roth, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “Trends in CVD mortality are no longer declining for high-income regions and low- and middle-income countries are also seeing more CVD-related deaths.”
In 2015, nearly 18 million people died from cardiovascular diseases worldwide.
“High levels of cardiovascular disease can be especially problematic for low-resource countries with limited access to or availability of effective treatments. Many nations are now dealing with a ‘double burden’ of chronic and infectious disease, which puts additional strain on health systems,” said Dr. Paulo Lotufo of the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
Coronary artery disease was the leading cause of health loss in every global region except sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, an estimated 7.3 million people suffered from heart attacks and around 110.6 million people were living with coronary artery disease.
The second-leading cause of worldwide health loss was stroke. In 2015, nearly 9 million people experienced strokes for the first time.