CVD: counting the cost

WHEN the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its latest figures on the toll of cardiovascular disease recently, there were some glaring numbers. 

It’s still the single biggest killer. In 2008, CVD claimed about 50,000 lives and affected 3.5 million more with losses in terms of disability, working days and quality of life.1 

The economic impact is equally glaring. In a 2004 Access Economics report commissioned by the National Heart Foundation (NHF), the total direct and indirect costs of CVD were estimated to be a whopping $14.2 billion per annum – or $706 for every single Australian.2 

But that figure is dwarfed by the $94 billion that Access Economics estimates CVD costs us each year in suffering and premature death. In terms of disability-adjusted life years, some 602,558 years were lost to CVD in 2004. 

That’s actually an improvement on past figures. Since the 1960s, the CVD