Cardiovascular diseases are sadly at the forefront of mortality in the world, and especially in developed countries such as Spain, where these pathologies are responsible for 28.8% of deaths, compared to tumors, which occupy the second place with 26.7% of deaths, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).
However, there are reasons for optimism for the coming years, especially thanks to the pharmacological advances, which have already achieved, in the last two decades, very significant advances that have resulted in a gradual reduction in mortality rates. for myocardial infarction and cardiovascular accident.
These advances will also continue in the future, and a good example of this is that the pharmaceutical industry currently has almost 600 new treatments for cardiovascular diseases under development. It is, in fact, one of the therapeutic areas to which more resources are allocated by pharmaceutical companies, and only the different types of cancer, neurological, infectious and immunological diseases have more products in the R&D phase.
But in what refers to the achievements achieved so far, and as the report reflects The value of the drug from a social perspective, prepared by the Weber Institute, it should be noted that in the case of Spain the infarction mortality rate has fallen from 6.2 per 10,000 in 2000 to 3.4 in 2015. Something similar has happened with mortality from strokes, which has gone from a rate of 9 per 10,000 inhabitants 20 years ago to one of 6.1 in 2015. In both cases the increasing efficacy of the pharmacological treatment of arterial hypertension and hypercholesterolemia has played a fundamental role.
In fact, according to one of the studies included in the aforementioned report, statins (drugs aimed at reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels) reduce the average incidence of total strokes by 21%.
Another study, conducted in the United States, analyzes the impact of the use of drugs and other medical interventions in reducing the mortality rate due to cardiovascular diseases between 1980 and 2000 and concludes that 47% of deaths avoided were due to the benefit therapeutic pharmacological and surgical treatments, while 44% was due to improvements in risk factors.
“Many of the treatments identified – the authors of the report point out – were pharmacists (for example, statins), which probably also played an important role in the reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure, which could be attributed even a higher percentage to the benefit of the use of drugs in reducing the mortality rate from these diseases ”.
Another study, the so-called Systolic Hypertension Program in the Advanced Age, provided important evidence on how treatment with antihypertensives for 4.5 years prevents one in two admissions due to heart failure, one in three infarcts and one in four cardiovascular events. .
Increase in life expectancy
Along the same lines, other research carried out in Switzerland in 2015 evaluated the relationship between the impact of innovation in cardiovascular medications and the increase in life expectancy of these patients. According to this study, people who consumed innovative cardiovascular medications lived longer than those who received older cardiovascular medications. In fact, the most conservative estimates indicated that the innovations represented almost a quarter of the improvement in longevity of these people, increasing their life expectancy between 2002 and 2012 in almost 3 months, at a cost per year of life earned of less than $ 10,000
As for hypertensive patients, other research work focused on the United States revealed that, in the absence of these drugs, the average blood pressure of the population over 40 would have been 10% to 13% higher, which would have been translated into a 4% increase in total deaths and a 9% increase due to cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the authors of this study conclude that the use of antihypertensives would have increased life expectancy by 0.5 years for men and 0.4 years for women, also avoiding 38% of hospital admissions for strokes. and 25% of hospitalizations for heart attack.
In this sense, and as another scientific article concludes, it can be said that each month of active treatment with antihypertensives is associated with the increase of approximately one day of life expectancy.
At the same time, as reflected in the Weber Institute report, advances in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases have improved the quality of life and reduced disability. It should be noted, in this regard, that there are currently effective measures for people at high risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, such as combined drug therapies (such as acetylsalicylic acid, beta blocker, diuretic and statin), They are able to reduce by 75% the risk of having a myocardial infarction among people who have a high risk.
Thanks to the pharmaceutical industry there are 600 new treatments against cardiovascular pathologies. These diseases are at the forefront of mortality in the world, hence the importance of advancing in this field.