Thanks to prolonged sedentary lifestyle, the pervasive culture that normalises consuming processed foods, the unfortunate disappearance of local and seasonal foods, and lack of regular basic exercises, apart from other more specific reasons, contribute decisively to heart ailments that have become common.

Given that cardiovascular diseases are among the prominent causes of mortality and morbidity in developed countries, the effect trickles down to not only the individual families that suffer, but also on the larger canvas with the workforce in general getting impacted by it.
Although potentially fatal, heart diseases can cause major ailments and even disability, besides significantly lowering the quality of life. A stroke can bring disabilities such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional disorders.

A study by World Obesity Federation, a partner of WHO, estimates that by 2035, more than half of the world’s population will be overweight or obese; and that the economic impact of a higher BMI could touch $4.32 trillion annually if there is no intervention by way of policy and the current trends continue.

The estimated economic costs of obesity for India by 2035, is said to be $8.43 billion in terms of  direct healthcare costs, while other costs comprise $109.38 billion (in premature mortality), $176.32 million (as direct non-medical costs), $2.23 billion (absenteeism), and $9.10 billion for reduced productivity.

The economic burden of disease refers to the human and economic costs that result from poor health of people.

In the US, the cost of cardiovascular diseases stood at $555 billion in 2015, with $318 billion dollars of direct costs and $237 billion of indirect costs. This figure is estimated to reach $1.1 trillion dollars by 2035.

In the research that evaluated 83 studies related to cardiovascular disease and economic burden, per episode costs of hypertension were between $500–1500 USD. Coronary heart disease and stroke costs were determined at over $5,000.

Another study estimated the annual cost of coronary heart diseases to the European economy was 49 billion Euros, which corresponded to about 2.6 per cent of total health expenditure of all European countries.

In 2015, 6,700 people aged 45-64 year had left the workforce due to the ischemic heart diseases — a condition whereby the flow of blood (and thus oxygen) is restricted or reduced in a certain part of the body.

Consequently, there was a loss of income of $263 million; and these costs are said to increase to $426 million in 2030.

Cardiovascular diseases have a greater prevalence at advanced ages; however, it can develop at younger age as well and cause premature death.

Cardiovascular events in adults of working age affect the labour market through premature exit from the labour force due to mortality or severe disability by causing long-term absence from work during hospitalisation / treatment and during the subsequent period of care and recovery.

Environmental reasons that contribute to this condition that has assumed proportions of a public health concern include inhaling unclean air, whether in private spaces or public.
Smoke from forest fires or stubble burning (depending on the region), or even smoking — active or passive — has an impact on public health.
When pollution engulfs an area, schools and outdoor activities are promptly suspended; wherever possible, people work from their homes, and this contributes significantly to the change in dynamics of labour force. Susceptibility of cardiovascular diseases increases in such a situation.

But, what happens if heart diseases are left untreated? It can cause severe angina (chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle), shortness of breath at even mild activities, and heart failure as well, increasing the risk of death.

Leading risk factors for heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and second-hand smoke exposure, obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

The first step to address the concern for increasing heart diseases would be to contain the reasons that cause it, so that its effect may be curbed and the issue be addressed and resolved to some extent.