More than 18 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease, despite the availability of effective, inexpensive, and safe prevention and treatment. The Resolve to Save Lives cardiovascular health initiative aims to reduce the number of people dying from heart disease and stroke in low- and middle-income countries. The initiative has three components, each high-impact, not currently addressed adequately, and with the ability to make rapid progress:
Improved treatment of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure kills more people than all infectious diseases combined – nearly 10 million people a year. Treatment is low-cost, simple, and can be done by existing health programs, with funding leveraged from governments and other sources.
Elimination of artificial trans-fat.
Artificial trans-fat, a toxic food additive that increases the risk of heart attack and death, can be eliminated through regulatory action and enforcement without changing the taste or increasing the cost of food.
High sodium intake raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Reducing sodium in food will save lives and money, and can be accomplished through education and empowerment of consumers, collaboration with the food industry, and government guidance.
Increasing global control of blood pressure from the current 14 percent to 50 percent, reducing global dietary sodium intake by 30 percent, and eliminating artificial trans fats from foods would prevent more than 100 million deaths from heart disease over the next 30 years.