(HealthDay News) — Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major global burden, despite declines in the mortality rate due to CVD in high-income and some middle-income countries, according to a study published online May 17 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Gregory Roth, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues estimated CVD mortality from vital registration system and verbal autopsy data, and estimated CVD prevalence using disease modeling software and data from health surveys, cohort studies, health system administrations, and disease registries.

The researchers found that there were an estimated 422.7 million prevalent cases of CVD in 2015, as well as 17.92 million CVD deaths. Between 1990 and 2015 there were significant declines in the age-standardized death rate due to CVD in all high-income and some middle-income regions; no significant change was detected in other world regions during this period. The leading cause of all health loss globally and in each world region was ischemic heart disease, followed by stroke. The highest CVD mortality rates shifted from women to men as the sociodemographic index increased beyond 0.25; for both sexes there was a sharp decrease in CVD mortality with a sociodemographic index above 0.75.

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“Future updates of the Global Burden of Disease study can be used to guide policymakers focused on reducing the overall burden of non-communicable disease and achieving specific global health targets set for CVD,” the authors write.

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