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Chapter 2: The Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases

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How many deaths worldwide are caused each year by cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

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A. 10 million

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B. 15 million

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C. 17 million

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D. 20 million

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E. 23 million

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The answer is C. (Hurst’s The Heart, 14th Edition, Chap. 2). In 2013, more than 17 million people died from CVDs, with an estimated US $863 billion in direct health care costs and productivity losses worldwide.1 As a result of the large populations in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), nearly 70% of CVD deaths occurred in LMICs. CVDs account for 50% of all NCD deaths in the world each year and represent a significant threat to human welfare and sustainable development. CVDs are the leading cause of death in every region of the world, with the exceptions of sub-Saharan Africa—where infectious diseases are still the leading cause of death—and South Korea and Japan, where cancers cause more deaths. The leading cause of CVD-related death was IHD, accounting for more than eight million deaths, followed by ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, with more than three million deaths each. Rheumatic heart disease, although not the leading cause of death, was a significant contributor to the global burden and a leading cause of highly preventable death, with approximately 275,000 deaths in 2013.

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Which of the following statements about global cardiovascular disease (CVD) is false?

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A. There has been a steady decrease in the age-specific death rate for CVD in both sexes over the past 20 years

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B. Women represent 50% of CVD deaths worldwide

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C. The total number of deaths from CVD increased more than 40% between 1990 and 2013

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D. Increases in gross domestic product are well correlated with reductions in cardiovascular disease mortality

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E. A continued increase in the number of CVD deaths is expected as a result of demographic changes worldwide

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The answer is D. (Hurst’s The Heart, 14th Edition, Chap. 2). Despite the steady decrease in death rate for both sexes over the past 20 years, the total number of deaths is increasing as a result of population growth and aging, which disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Globally, the total number of CVD deaths increased from 12.3 to 17.3 million, a 41% increase between 1990 and 2013.2 Women represent 50% of these deaths. Although most countries have seen an increased national income per capita over this time, the decrease ...

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