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Joining efforts to tackle heart disease
Date:4/7/2008

Heart disease is a preventable condition, yet 2 million people die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) annually in Europe. Cardiovascular disease is now affecting younger generations due to unhealthy lifestyles and causes 30 to 40% of all premature deaths. Recent studies have highlighted the mounting human and economic cost of heart disease, calculated to be 192 billion Euros per year1.

A Call for Action2 encouraging European countries to develop national strategies to combat heart disease has been issued by the Joint European Societies on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

Experts say local strategies should target four areas: Education, Health Insurance, Primary Care and Hospitals.

Schools are encouraged to promote a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, physical exercise and avoidance of tobacco.

"It is better to be healthy than ill. Despite abundant evidence that many cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes) are preventable through simple lifestyle measures, many countries only reimburse treatment and not prevention. Since treatment alone is expensive and cannot deal fully with Europe's biggest killer, CVD and since prevention works, it is important that governments allocate an adequate budget to sustained health education and preventive care within national health services. Primary care physicians, nurses and hospitals are key players in an integrated preventive health strategy. Lifestyle measures are not costly and also confer major added value in terms of less obesity, diabetes, lung diseases and cancer as well as less CVD," emphasizes Prof Ian Graham, Chairperson of the ESC Fourth Joint Task Force on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

The Joint European Societies on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention3 is an alliance of organisations concerned with heart health. Prof Guy De Backer of the European Society of Cardiology, Chairperson of this group, explains: A multidisciplinary approach is extremel
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Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
jpartarrieu@escardio.org
33-492-948-627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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