World Heart Day": Roche encourages everyone to take care of their hearts
A healthy heart is essential for a healthy life. To highlight this, the World Heart Federation designated September 29 as World Heart Day to promote awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to stimulate and drive global action to help people all over the world live healthy lifestyles.
The theme for 2023 is "Use heart, know heart is open-ended."
CVD has become a worry as the number of heart disease cases globally rises and millions of people die from it each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, with Asia having the largest number of deaths from this illness, accounting for 58% of all deaths worldwide, or 10.8 million people.
Meanwhile, in Thailand, an average of 7 people die from cardiovascular disease per hour, or 58,681 individuals per year, and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease continues to rise year after year (data from the Ministry of Public Health).
According to Roche's “Heart Failure Unseen: Unmasking the Gaps and Escalating Crisis in Asia Pacific” report, between 1990 and 2019, deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Apac surged by 12%, equating to approximately 5.2 million deaths in that period. The combination of rising population growth, urbanisation, an ageing population, increasing rates of obesity, and chronic diseases have led to a notable increase in CVDs, including heart failure. Heart failure is the leading cause of cardiovascular hospitalisations worldwide, with a high mortality rate (more than 50% of deaths in five years).
CVD risk factors and symptoms
The most significant behavioural risk factors for cardiovascular disease include a poor diet, a lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake. As heart failure progresses, it can become more debilitating, leading to hospitalisation and a shortened life expectancy. Early detection and management, supported by the latest diagnostic tools, are crucial in preventing heart failure from taking a toll on one's health and well-being.
The main challenge for doctors is misdiagnosis in hospitals.
The report, "Heart Failure Unseen: Unmasking the Gaps and Escalating Crisis in Asia Pacific”, investigates inadequacies in existing heart failure treatment standards in Asia Pacific. It discovered that one of the primary challenges doctors have when diagnosing heart failure is diagnosing heart failure based on symptoms alone. This may be owing to a lack of diagnostic technologies and insufficient biological marker or biomarker testing.
A diagnosis of heart failure based only on symptoms is one of the key reasons hospitals misdiagnose 16.1% of patients with heart disease. Shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue—the symptoms of heart failure can easily be confused for other ailments that are much less serious.
The value of biomarkers in heart failure diagnosis
Screening, improved diagnosis, and better disease monitoring are needed to lower the mortality rate of cardiac diseases. Cardiac biomarkers such as NT-proBNP can help provide a full clinical picture that aids in the diagnosis and management of heart failure. Having a full clinical picture with the right objective information allows physicians to make the best decisions in heart failure management to benefit patients. Aside from international clinical guidelines recommending the use of NT-proBNP as a diagnostic tool, studies from the Apac region also show evidence that echoes these recommendations.
The economic effects of heart failure
Heart failure poses a significant burden in the form of hospitalisations and mortality, along with direct and indirect costs incurred for the treatment of the disease. Direct costs include hospitalisation, drugs, rehabilitation, outpatient care, etc. Indirect costs are defined as productivity losses, informal care, costs due to early mortality or early retirement, etc.
In Thailand, estimated direct costs are US$0.6 billion per year, which is equivalent to THB21 billion per year, while estimated indirect costs are US$0.7 billion per year, or approximately THB25 billion per year. The costs are split by 49% for hospitalisations, whereas the annual HF test cost per patient is US$3,513 per year, or approximately THB125,570; the cost of HF hospitalisation is US$7,181 or approximately THB256,681; and the average length of stay in hospital is 14.2 days per patient.
Data published in the International Journal of Cardiology shows Asian heart failure patients spend between 5 and 12.5 days in hospitals, and 3% to 15% are readmitted within 30 days. The NT-proBNP test has helped reduce hospital stays by 12 %, direct medical costs by 10 %, and unplanned hospitalisation by 50 %. Inadequate management of ischemic heart disease, a major risk factor for heart failure, can impose billions of dollars of costs on healthcare systems as well as affect patients in countries where they have to bear significant out-of-pocket expenses.
Prevention of CVD and heart failure
Tobacco cessation, salt reduction in the diet, eating more fruits and vegetables, regular physical exercise, and abstaining from problematic alcohol consumption have all been demonstrated to lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease. Countries should encourage health policies that create an environment that offers inexpensive and easily accessible healthy food options in order to persuade individuals to adopt healthy behaviours.
World Heart Day (September 29)
"Use heart, know heart is open-ended," the theme for World Heart Day 2023, urges everyone to take care of their own and others' hearts. This year's campaign emphasises the critical process of first knowing the heart, "because when we know more, we can take better care of them." In a world where knowledge concerning heart health is limited and standards in numerous countries are inadequate, the World Heart Federation seeks to break down barriers and empower individuals to take charge of their own well-being. This year, it is asking individuals to utilise the heart emoji ❤ as a visual language to convey concern for those around them and increase awareness of good heart care.