Wednesday 19 September 2018

MEA sees 16.6pc rise in cardiovascular disease

DUBAI, October 11, 2017

The greatest increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence in the world during 2014-2016 was in Europe (38.8 per cent) and Middle East and Africa (16.6 per cent), said Aetna International, a UK-based health care benefits provider.

Cardiovascular disease is the world’s forgotten killer - it accounts for 31 per cent of all deaths worldwide. The number of global CVD related deaths is on the rise, yet not enough emphasis is placed on prevention. Aetna International calls for greater public awareness of CVD, advocating preventative lifestyle changes and awareness to tackle the growing problem.

Few people are aware of all the potentially life-threatening conditions associated with the umbrella term, Cardiovascular disease – including deep vein thrombosis, coronary heart disease, stroke and arrhythmia. There needs to be a greater awareness of the root causes of CVD, which include genetic predisposition, obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and lifestyle choices.

In keeping with global CVD trends, the prevalence of CVD is increasing across all regions among Aetna International members, as finds analysis of 700,000 Aetna International customers from 2014-2016. Aetna International’s customer base in the Americas region had the highest prevalence of CVD according to the review, while the region with the lowest CVD prevalence was Asia Pacific.

To tackle the global rise in CVD, Aetna International employed a Care Management Program among a targeted subset of customers showing indications of CVD. The program offered one-to-one-clinician support and condition management to sick and at-risk customers.

In addition, the program educated low-risk customers on the importance of lifestyle change, which increased customer awareness, member engagement and adherence to treatment. The approach lowered the toll of CVD and prevented the deterioration of customers’ health.

The company is looking to expand the successful Care Management Program across a wider customer base. Aetna International believes that only by taking a continuous proactive approach – rather than episodic and reactive – can global communities start to truly address the issue of CVD and curb the rise.

Why prevention is key

Most of the growth in global CVD has been brought by heightened risk factors such as unhealthy lifestyle choices and lack of access to prevention and care. These factors are becoming exacerbated over time as people live longer.

Genetic factors can also predispose individuals to CVD as well as to behaviours such as smoking that contribute to CVD. Treatment options for CVD are predominantly drug-based, with statins being the long-standing preferred option. Whilst these help people already suffering from the disease, they do not address the underlying causes and therefore provide no solutions to prevent the onset of the disease.

Dr Mitesh Patel, medical director at Aetna International said: “The findings from our member data are troubling and are in keeping with a rise in CVD the world over. Statins and other drugs are essential for treating those already suffering from CVD, but are not truly preventative.

“We have found that placing a special emphasis on adopting a healthier lifestyle can significantly decrease the chance of developing a CVD condition and boost life expectancy. Globally, there needs to be more education about the importance of healthy eating, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and exercising more to help safeguard against CVD.”

Aetna International highlighted the importance of education and early detection in the fight against CVD and calls on medical providers, insurers and governments to provide greater guidance on the healthy behaviours individuals can adopt to mitigate against CVD. Any drug treatments for CVD should be part of a comprehensive care management plan which puts an emphasis on healthy living. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: CVD | Aetna | cardiovascular disease |

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