Cardiovascular illnesses are the leading cause of death globally, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that they take 18 million lives every year – 50,000 a day. Four out of five deaths from heart disease are due to heart attacks and strokes, and a third of these deaths happen prematurely, in people less than 70 years old.
According to a study led by Dr. Valentín Fuster, one of the most eminent cardiologists on the international scene, cases of cardiovascular illness have almost doubled since 1990 and deaths have increased by 50 %. Many of these are premature deaths are due to risk factors that can be modified such as high blood pressure – the cause of 10.8 million deaths a year – unhealthy diets, excess weight, obesity, excess LDL cholesterol or pollution. This is why Dr. Fuster has spent years running studies like the SI! programme or Healthy Communities with more than 100,000 children, young people and adults in Spain, Mexico and the USA to prevent cardiovascular illnesses. The studies are producing excellent results, which show that preventive strategies are effective in reducing cardiovascular risk, both individually and among the population at large.
However, reducing this high mortality rate also requires innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses. The number one cause of death in the world is ischemic cardiopathy, responsible for 16 % of all deaths in the world. The GlyCardial project, which has been supported by CaixaResearch Validate since 2015, has come up with an innovation that might be able to change this situation. It is the first device in the world able to detect a lack of blood supply to the heart by a simple diagnostic test, designed to be used in ambulances and emergency units, to treat patients quickly and appropriately.
We need more innovation and research to approach cardiovascular illnesses, their prevention and cure in the best way, so that their incidence and lethalness do not continue to rise in the world. But what is the most efficient approach?
Dr. Valentín Fuster, director general of the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in Madrid, director of the Instituto Cardiovascular and Physician-in-Chief at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and president of the SHE Foundation - ”la Caixa” Foundation.
Dr. Judit Cubedo, joint founder and CEO of GlyCardial Diagnostics.
Dr. Gloria Santos, scientific director of the SHE Foundation - ”la Caixa” Foundation and post-doctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Ángeles Gómez, journalist at El Confidencial.