Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and in most countries outside sub-Saharan Africa. The root causes of this modern epidemic are sedentary stressful urban lifestyles and high-calorie diets rich in saturated fats, salt, and simple sugars. Although the mortality from CVD has long peaked in most developed countries, its prevalence continues to rise because of improved survival and aging of the populations, placing tremendous strains on health care financing in some of these countries. In most Asian and Middle Eastern countries, outside East Asia, prevalence of CVD and its risk factors are high and still rising, while the rising mortality is among the highest in the world. As the predominantly young populations of these countries age, they face inadequate health care systems without assured financial coverage. Effective measures are therefore urgently needed to combat the epidemic of CVD. Comprehensive preventive measures are essential to curb the spread of this epidemic, while health care systems should be structured on the basis of locally derived data to provide adequate affordable care to the ever increasing pools of patients with CVD.
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