Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Heart disease, China's No 1 killer

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Heart disease, China's No 1 killer

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is now the leading cause of death in China, warned experts at the 5th Five-Continent International Symposium on Cardiovascular Diseases that concluded on Saturday in Beijing.

Every year, CVD kills 2.6 million people in China, or 300 people on average every hour. The No 1 killer disease in the West, CVD has now become a major epidemic risk in China as well, with the number of people affected increasing by 25 percent annually.

By the end of this year, an estimated 100 million would be diagnosed with heart disease - from tobacco use, sedentary lives and unhealthy diets. CVD costs the nation about $16 billion every year, according to a study presented at the conference.

Heart disease poses a particular risk to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and smokers, but is increasingly also affecting younger people. According to one estimate, China currently has 350 million smokers.

"CVD has spread to many rural areas in most parts of China, where medical care is less adequate than what can be found in the cities," says Luo Zhengxiang, 82, head of the Guangdong CVD Research Institute.

Luo, who received a Life Achievement Award at the weekend conference, has been working in this field since 1965 and is one of the leading experts on CVD in China.

He says that while China has made huge progress in the diagnosis and treatment of CVD, it still lacks enough experienced surgeons, adding that the quality of surgery is critical to cutting mortality rates.

The conference brought together well-known experts and guest speakers for face-to-face meetings with patients, at which they detailed the importance of treatment and lifestyle changes.

Held every two years since 2001, the Five-Continent International Symposium on CVD is a platform for cardiovascular specialists from all over the world to share the latest in research and treatments.

As the founder and organizer of the conference, the Beijing Anzhen Hospital of Capital University of Medical Sciences is a leading hospital engaged in CVD.

Since the hospital was founded in 1984, it has successfully conducted 46,000 cardiac operations, representing the highest rate among general hospitals in China.

It is also at the forefront of preventing and treating hypertension, coronary artery disease and cerebral stroke.

In 1984, the hospital joined the WHO's "International Collaboration of CVD Monitoring", which lasted 20 years. It was aimed at monitoring up to 5.8 million people all over the country to find first-hand data on CVD incidence, mortality, and risk factors.

taken from : China Daily

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