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Cardiovascular Diseases as a Public Health Challenge Report


Introduction

The term cardiovascular diseases refer to “various conditions that involve blocked blood vessels that eventually result in heart attack, stroke, or angina” (Puska 2014, p. 407). Different conditions of the heart known to affect the valves, rhythms, or muscles of the heart are categorized as cardiovascular diseases. The problem statement for this project is that cardiovascular diseases pose a major public health challenge that must be addressed immediately in order to achieve positive health outcomes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of deaths globally every single year (World Health Organization 2017). In 2012, it was estimated that 17.5 million individuals died from cardiovascular-related complications (Sarrafzadegan et al., 2013). Stroke has been claiming over 7 million people annually (Puska 2014). The problem affects many adults and elderly people, especially in the developing world. The nature of this health problem explains why it should be selected for a research study. This is the case because cardiovascular diseases affect both the developed and the developing world. The disease continues to claim the lives of many individuals above the age of 30.

Key Definitions

Cardiovascular diseases: These are conditions that affect the functions of the heart and the blood circulation system.

Hyperlipidemia: This is a disease characterized by “increased serum levels of low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol, or triglycerides” (Prabhakaran, Jeemon & Roy 2016, p. 1606).

Peripheral arterial disease: This is a condition of vessels that supply blood to the legs and arms.

Cerebrovascular disease: Condition affecting the vessels supplying oxygen and blood to the human brain.

Congenital heart disease: This term refers to heart malformations at birth.

Stroke: This is a disease or condition occurring when there is no blood flow to the brain.

Angina: This is a medical condition characterized by “severe pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart” (Dewi et al. 2013, p. 1044).

Literature Review: Detailed Analysis of the Public Health Problem

Stroke and cardiovascular diseases have been categorized by the WHO as some of the challenges affecting the global community. The staggering statistics show conclusively that cardiovascular diseases continue to claim the lives of many people. Different agencies and organizations such as the WHO and the American Heart Association (AHA) have been focusing on the best measures to deal with this global epidemic. Experts have identified various evidence-based initiatives such as medical therapies to deal with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial diseases (Sarrafzadegan et al., 2013). The discussion presented below, therefore, gives a detailed analysis of this global health issue.

Causes of the Problem

Heart disease is caused by a wide range of factors. Puska (2014) indicates that heart attacks are associated with a number of risk factors. For instance, individuals who embrace unhealthy diets tend to become obese especially in middle and low-income societies. Obesity is another risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases. Physical inactivity is also associated with different heart diseases. Past studies have shown conclusively that tobacco use exposes more people to this disease. Hyperlipidemia and diabetes are identified as some of the risk factors for different cardiovascular diseases (Prabhakaran, Jeemon & Roy 2016). Hereditary factors are currently being studied in order to understand how they promote the development of this condition. The combination of these major risk factors explains why cardiovascular diseases have become a major health problem across the world.

Factors Affecting the Health Challenge

This health challenge is affected by a number of factors. To begin with, human lifestyles and behaviors dictate their eating habits. Such aspects have continued to disorient the measures undertaken to deal with the health challenge. Since cardiovascular diseases affect all global populations, the developing and underdeveloped nations are currently struggling with the condition. Many nations especially in the developing world lack adequate finances to deal with this health problem. This gap explains why most of the efforts undertaken to deal with the global epidemic have not delivered desirable results. Smoking is a major health problem that has been hard to tackle. This is also the same case for alcohol consumption (Sarrafzadegan et al., 2013). Unfortunately, smoking and alcohol use are some of the risk factors for different cardiovascular diseases. The fight against various cardiovascular diseases might not succeed due to these factors.

Prominent Consequences

As mentioned earlier, cardiovascular diseases have led to numerous consequences across the world. To begin with, cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death annually. Over 31 percent of all deaths recorded globally are associated with various cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, hypertension, or heart disease. The developing and underdeveloped nations have been affected the most by the condition. Elderly people above the age of 50 have increased chances of developing the condition (Puska 2014). The same age bracket has been struggling with other diseases such as obesity and diabetes. These challenges explain why new measures will be needed to reverse the situation.

Prevention and Control

Experts in healthcare have presented various strategies that can be undertaken in an attempt to deal with cardiovascular diseases. Population-wide initiatives can be implemented in order to reduce the prevalence of these conditions. The use of powerful policies aimed at reducing the use of tobacco can reduce the consequences of this public health problem. Taxation can be embraced to minimize the consumption of various foods that are high in sugar and fat. Community members should be encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles and engage in physical activities (Ahmadi et al. 2014). Cycling, jogging, and sporting activities can be used to tackle the problem.

Primary preventative measures can focus on frequent screening and exercises. Individuals at risk of developing these conditions should be encouraged to engage in exercises. Individuals who have developed the conditions can use various measures to achieve positive health results. They can use beta-blockers, therapies, and statins to deal with the condition. Surgeries can be used to “for valve replacements and artificial heart transplants or operations” (Prabhakaran, Jeemon & Roy 2016, p. 1611).

Different agencies such as the WHO and the AHA have proposed powerful policies that can minimize most of the behavioral factors associated with cardiovascular diseases (Sarrafzadegan et al., 2013). Individuals who are obese have been targeted in order to embrace better lifestyles. Drug therapies, counseling programs, and educational campaigns have been supported by different scientists because they have the potential to deal with the problem. Ferrante et al. (2013) indicate that “the idea of universal health coverage can ensure more patients with various cardiovascular diseases or conditions receive quality medical support” (p. 261).

Conclusions

The above discussion has shown conclusively that cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in every part of the world. The causes of these conditions are complex in nature. Unhealthy practices, unbalanced diets, lack of exercise, genetic constitutions, and the presence of diseases such as obesity are some of the causes of different cardiovascular diseases (Ahmadi et al. 2014). The major obstacles affecting the efforts aimed at tackling the health challenges include lack of finances, inadequate educational programs, and the presence of other diseases such as diabetes. The economic developments experienced in the developing world continue to encourage more people to lead unhealthy lifestyles. Consequently, the number of people affected by different cardiovascular diseases has increased significantly. It would be appropriate for policymakers to come up with adequate regulations to ensure healthy food materials are available to many citizens. Taxes can be used to minimize smoking and alcohol abuse. The provision of adequate playing grounds, use of campaigns, and availability of medical support are powerful strategies that can be used to tackle the challenges arising from different cardiovascular diseases.

Recommendations

Several recommendations can be presented in order to ensure different governments implement powerful measures to deal with this global health challenge. Researchers have also been encouraged to come up with new strategies to tackle this global epidemic. Cost-effective measures based on the risk factors for targeted clients should be developed in order to support the needs of more people. The use of modern informatics and health technologies can result in evidence-based information to deal with various conditions. The use of genetic information can result in personalized treatment procedures that can support the health needs of more people at risk of different cardiovascular diseases. Every nation should be encouraged to allocate adequate funds to deal with this health problem (Ahmadi et al. 2014). Campaigns focusing on issues such as smoking cessation, frequent screening, and healthy behaviors can deliver positive results. These recommendations can, therefore, be embraced in order to deal with this challenge that affects the health outcomes of many people across the world.

Reference List

Ahmadi, A, Gharipour, M, Nouri, F, Kelishadi, R, Sadeghi, M & Sarrafzadegan, N 2014, ‘Association between adolescence obesity and metabolic syndrome: evidence from Isfahan Healthy Heart Program’, Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 569-573.

Dewi, F, Stenlund, H, Marlinawati, V, Ohman, A & Weinehall, L 2013, ‘A community intervention for behaviour modification: an experience to control cardiovascular diseases in Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, BMC Public Health, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1043-1056.

Ferrante, D, Konfino, J, Linetzky, B, Tambussi, A & Laspiur, S 2013, ‘Barriers to prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care settings in Argentina’, Rev Panam Salud Publica, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 259-266.

Prabhakaran, D, Jeemon, P & Roy, A 2016, ‘Cardiovascular diseases in India: current epidemiology and future directions’, Circulation, vol. 133, no. 1, pp. 1605-1620.

Puska, P 2014, ‘Prevention of cardiovascular diseases: a spearhead for control of noncommunicable diseases’, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, vol. 20, no. 7, pp. 407-408.

Sarrafzadegan, N, Kelishadi R, Sadri, G, Malekafzali, H, Pourmoghaddas, M, & Heidari, K 2013, ‘Outcomes of a comprehensive healthy lifestyle program on cardiometabolic risk factors in a developing country: the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program’, Archives of Iranian Medicine, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 4-11.

World Health Organization 2017.

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IvyPanda. "Cardiovascular Diseases as a Public Health Challenge." November 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cardiovascular-diseases-as-a-public-health-challenge/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Cardiovascular Diseases as a Public Health Challenge." November 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cardiovascular-diseases-as-a-public-health-challenge/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Cardiovascular Diseases as a Public Health Challenge'. 11 November.

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