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Heart failure affects younger people in Africa more than in Europe, Asia – Study




STUDY by a team of 12 experts from 11 countries has revealed that heart failure affects young people more in Africa than in Europe and Asia.

In Africa, people from 53 years and above experience heart failure crisis, while in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, the condition affects people from age 56, 60 and 70 respectively.

A statement on the outcome of the study mailed to The ICIR by AstraZeneca, a leading British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, notes that heart failure is a global phenomenon. 

The release was to commemorate the World Heart Day.

The report of the study was published in the Journal of the Saudi Heart Association.

In Africa, Asia and the Middle East alone, heart failure incurs an economic burden estimated at $1.92 billion, with recurrent hospitalisations accounting for the bulk of the cost.

Risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, smoking and socioeconomic transition, as well as a marked increased intake of fatty foods and physical inactivity, contribute to the higher prevalence of heart failure in the regions.

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The study also identified a lack of community-level awareness and high prevalence of associated conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, compounded by poor accessibility and affordability of healthcare, as major barriers to the prevention of heart failure in the regions.

Besides, there is a shortage of robust regional databases or registries, and the under-representation of the region in research studies constitutes barriers to identifying the real-world burden of heart failure and hindering prevention strategies.

“In some countries, the high prevalence of existing infectious diseases such as tuberculosis shifts the focus from non-communicable diseases, leading to a lack of support for the implementation of heart failure awareness programmes and campaigns.

“Paucity of region-specific guidelines that would provide a blueprint of care and scarcity of specifically trained care workers reduces the region’s ability for early detection of at-risk patients,” the study notes.

For countries to combat the challenges headlong, the group recommended that they: 

  • prioritise heart failure and its associated comorbidities, such as chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes, alongside other infectious diseases,
  • develop region-specific guidelines on heart failure and monitor their implementation,
  • create local registries to increase the available data on heart failure,
  • train health workers in the early identification of high-risk patients, such as people with hypertension and ischemic heart disease,
  • improve access to advanced diagnostics and train primary care health workers to use the available technology, and
  • enhance access and insurance for novel therapies like SGLT2 inhibitors.

The World Health Organization categorizes cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) as the leading cause of death globally.

An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32 per cent of all global deaths.

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Of these deaths, 85 per cent were due to heart attack and stroke.

Out of the 17 million premature deaths (under the age of 70) due to non-communicable diseases in 2019, 38 per cent were caused by CVDs.


Author profile

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ mfatunmole@icirnigeria.org.

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