Changes in demography and lifestyle are leading to an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Professor Junbo Ge, President of the Asian-Pacific Society of Interventional Cardiology, pleads for better lifestyle education and improved access to cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment.
China is a perfect example of what is driving cardiovascular diseases in many parts of the world. “We have been witnessing huge changes in the spectrum of disease,” says Professor Junbo Ge. “The open policy of the last 30 years has brought more wealth, but also more lifestyle-related diseases like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and coronary artery disease.“
The consequence is that China is currently witnessing a steep increase in the number of patients and cardiovascular treatments required. The number of cardiac interventions in China has risen from around 4,500 in 1999 to more 300,000 today. This number is set to rise even further, says Ge, since there are still huge discrepancies in access to cardiovascular care between different parts of China. “Companies like Siemens have a lot of responsibility here. They should be helping to train young doctors to use the available technologies properly.“
But better access to treatment is only one way to improve cardiovascular care. Ge believes that investing in education is even more important: ”We have to tell people what a better and healthier life looks like. Many people are simply not aware of how to live healthily.” The emerging middle class is particularly vulnerable when it comes to lifestyle-related diseases. One reason, says Ge, is that one of the first things people do when they become wealthier is change their eating habits.