Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) accounts for 85% of all cardiovascular-related deaths and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for more than 15 million deaths each year. A main risk factor of ASCVD is low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) - also known as 'bad cholesterol'.
While 80% of premature cardiovascular events related to ASCVD are preventable, many people with elevated LDL-C levels go undiagnosed until they experience a major cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or a stroke. Smoking, physical activity and diet are contributory factors to developing cardiovascular disease, however almost 40% of the adult population is at risk of elevated LDL-C levels due to an inherited genetic condition.
Until now, local action on ASCVD has been limited despite the publication of international prevention guidelines. The Global Heart Hub aims to implement change in the way unhealthy cholesterol levels are prevented and managed at local levels to reduce ASCVD .
The new Action Plan outlines four clear goals to ensure unhealthy cholesterol levels are addressed as a public health priority: build alliances, raise public awareness, activate alliances, and improve high cholesterol detection and management.
Dr. Shaun Goodman, Associate Head of Cardiology at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada said: "Improving public understanding of the serious risks of unhealthy cholesterol levels related to the development of ASCVD is critical. What's also needed to change the trajectory of this growing problem is a multi-stakeholder approach that includes governments and policy makers in order to implement strategies to improve high cholesterol detection and to support the work being done by healthcare professionals."
Neil Johnson, Executive Director of the Global Heart Hub said: " While we've advanced with science and treatment, ASCVD remains the world's number one killer, with cholesterol as the main culprit. The unveiling of our Global Cholesterol Action Plan is the patient communities' collective call for governments to optimize policies that target unhealthy cholesterol management and prevention to help reduce the tremendous burden of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease on individuals, society, and the healthcare system ."
Global patient community support
Representing the voice of the global patient community, the Action Plan was created with the support of Invisible Nation, a program co-created by Global Heart Hub and Novartis to expose the realities of ASCVD. The Action Plan has been endorsed by patient organizations from across the Americas, Europe and Australia including WomenHeart and The Mended Hearts, United States; Heart Valve Voice Canada, Heartlife Canada, and Canadian Heart Patient Alliance; Instituto Lado a Lado pela Vida, Brazil; Pacientes de Coraz?n, Mexico; FH Europe; Cro?, Ireland; Associazione Italiana Scompensati Cardiaci, Italy; and Hearts4Heart, Australia.