In the world, three out of ten people die from cardiovascular disease. It is a health problem that, although global, is not the same everywhere.

While in developed countries the main diseases are ischemic and vascular heart disease and strokes, in developing countries congenital heart disease and those caused by rheumatic fevers.

According to data from the World Health OrganizationThis link will open in a new window, cardiovascular diseases each year cause the deaths of 17 million people in the world.

A healthy lifestyle and regular checks of our health status are essential to protect our heart, but unfortunately, this is not the only condition to keep it in shape. The access to health and the knowledge of the population, in terms of healthy habits of life, condition, and much, the cardiovascular diseases that will be suffered.

Today, World Heart Day, we wanted to know how the cardiovascular health of the planet is and we asked ourselves if it is the same everywhere, if we all have the same cardiovascular diseases.

To find out, we spoke with Dr. Xavier Ruyra, director of the Cardiac Surgery program at the Teknon Medical Center, the Hospital El Pilar-Sant Jordi Cardiovascular Center and head of cardiac surgery at the Cardiodreams Foundation. This link will open in a new window, a leading figure in cardiac surgery not only in Spain, but beyond our borders.

According to the prestigious surgeon, only 10% of the world’s population has access to medical and surgical treatments for cardiovascular disease, a fact that directly affects the cardiovascular diseases of the population and makes these pathologies very different depending on the country in which we are.

Dr. Ruyra, who knows well the data on heart disease in developing countries, warns that while cardiovascular disease in the so-called “first world” finds its causes in diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, tobacco and sedentary life, in developing countries the causes are very different.

The lack of treatment and access to health is the cause of rheumatic fevers; the lack of prenatal check-ups means that most of the so-called “congenital cardiopathies” go undetected. While the former would affect adults, the latter mostly affect young people.

Rheumatic fevers and congenital cardiopathies, cardiovascular diseases in developing countries.

Rheumatic fevers, which could only be cured with antibiotic treatment and proper control, kill thousands of people. Rheumatic heart disease is the most important acquired heart disease in children and young people. It affects 15 million people worldwide and more than 350,000 die each year.

The lack of access to medicine and pregnancy controls means that, in the most depressed geographical areas, the number of births of babies with heart disease is very high. In these places, neonatal screening is inaccessible to the majority of the population.

Own Heart Disease Plus Imported Heart Disease: An Alarming Fact

While up until now these were the leading diseases, explains Dr. Ruyra, ischemic heart disease, caused by tobacco use, cholesterol, diabetes and sedentary life, as well as vascular diseases and strokes are acquiring a strong presence in these countries. Yes, they copy us. Thus, we find alarming data such as the fact that 35% of the population of Arab countries is obese or the spectacular increase in tobacco consumption among young Indians.

To the cardiac pathology caused by the lack of medical attention and by the lack of policies of prevention and promotion of the health, has been added the adoption of the model of life that the first world tries to leave behind, and where the cardiovascular disease is the first cause of death. Population at risk, also in the “first world”.

The lack of access to health resources occurs in the so-called “third world”; but we must not forget that in the “first world” there are also vulnerable groups. From the age of 55 onwards, the number of deaths due to heart disease in women skyrockets.

Dr. Ruyra points out as one of the causes the role assigned to women for a long time that makes them responsible for the well-being of those around them, rather than their own. When she worries about herself, it’s often too late. In the words of Dr. Ruyra, “women still do not have the same opportunities to access the health system as men.

Another group at risk are families with difficulties in accessing health education, the health system, despite being universal, and to fill the shopping basket with heart-healthy food.