About one in 10 middle-aged adults in China are at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet use of risk reduction therapies is strikingly low. Findings from a Chinese national screening project are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
CVD accounted for 40 percent of all deaths in China in 2015 and this burden is expected to increase because of the aging of the Chinese population and an increase in the prevalence of risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and smoking. Identifying and modifying risk factors for persons at high risk for CVD would have a considerable impact on population health, but nationwide information is lacking about the prevalence and treatment of high CVD risk.
Researchers from the National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases in China investigated the prevalence, features, and treatment of high CVD risk among 1.7 million persons from the China PEACE Million Persons Project, which is a government-funded, community-based, national project of CVD screening and management conducted in the mainland of China. Among nearly 1.7 million participants aged 35-75 years, 9.5 percent had a high risk for CVD. Of those with high CVD risk, only 0.6 percent and 2.4 percent reported using statins and aspirin, respectively. According to the authors, these findings indicate that an immense opportunity exists for risk mitigation in Chinese population.
The authors of an accompanying editorial from Tulane University, CVD prevalence estimates reported in the study very likely underrepresent the true burden of illness due to CVD in China. They suggest that this study is an important call-to-action for highly populated middle- and low-income countries where the CVD risk factor profile is worsening faster than the current health sector can respond to it. There appears to be an urgent need for diagnosis and medical treatment of CVD.