Heart disease remains leading cause of death worldwide

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the 2021 Statistical Update from the American Heart Association, written by a collaboration of healthcare professionals led by Dr. Salim Virani, professor of medicine – cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine and a staff cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Experts believe these numbers will be impacted by COVID-19 in the coming years.

Virani chairs the committee made up of expert volunteers working on behalf of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. He also is lead author on the data published online today in the journal Circulation.

The report found that globally, nearly 18.6 million people died of cardiovascular disease in 2019 (latest data recorded). Over the past decade, the number of deaths has increased 17.1%. There were more than 523.2 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2019, an increase of 26.6% compared with 2010.

Virani and his colleagues say the impact of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease is not entirely known at this time, but it is expected to play a role in cardiovascular health and mortality rates for many years.

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