World Congress of Cardiology Report - Fifty-five percent of the Chilean adult population is at risk of a cardiovascular event with a high rate of morbidity and mortality affecting mainly a productive population, between 35 and 74 years of age. This risk is 1.4 times greater for men.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the three most common causes of incapacitation in the adult population in Chile. The average rate of invalidity is 49 years for women and 53 years for men, making it is easy to understand that this is a financial burden to the health care system.
Additionally, cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in Chile: 29% of all people in the country die from coronary heart disease. Of those 36% are due to coronary heart disease and 36.3% from cerebrovascular disease (stroke).
Different studies have shown in Chile that major risk factors of atherosclerosis have a high prevalence in the adult population and that , most of them have increased during the last 10 years.
One of such studies performed in the Metropolitan area of the country (Santiago, the capital city and surroundings ) showed:
- Obesity 22% (1993) 25% (2001)
- Diabetes 4% 6%
- Cholesterol 37% 46%
- Hypertension 25% 26%
- Smoking 40% 37%, the only risk factor which showed a small decrease.
Even small Indian communities (mapuches) still existing in the country show a similar pattern:
- Obesity 27%(1993) 33%(2001)
- Diabetes 4% 7
- Hypertension 38% 37%
- Cholesterol 19% 21%
In 2003, the Ministry of Health performed a national survey that assessed the risk of 3600 adults aged 17 years of age or more. The results confirmed the high prevalence of major risk factors:
- Overweight 60% and obesity 32%, more prevalent in people with primary education. 17.2% of children 6 years of age or older are obese. 50% of children of the capital city are overweighed or obese.
- Cholesterol 35% ; < HDL ( “good or protective” cholesterol) 39%; > LDL( “bad” cholesterol) 25%.
- Diabetes 4.2%; but glucose intolerance was present in 20% in men and 11% in women.
- Smoking 42%, more prevalent in younger people, less than 25 years of age.
- Sedentary habits, 89%.
- Metabolic syndrome, 25%.
The Chilean government as well as private institutions (insurance companies) have addressed this important health problem by implementing strong prevention programs.
The most important initiative is the creation of a Cardiovascular Health Program that includes: