I believe it is important that cardiologists and other cardiovascular specialists take an active role in developing preventative cardiovascular medicine. We should all take an interest in and carefully read the European Heart Health Charter, a document about cardiovascular prevention that was recently initiated by the European Society of Cardiology. All healthcare professionals in the cardiovascular field should stand behind this important document, which is in the process of being officially ratified by the EU and its Member States. It clearly outlines the importance of cardiovascular health and defines what this is. At first glance it might not seem as radical as I believe it is. After all, it states that cardiovascular health should be a human right to any European citizen born in this millennium, at least up to 65 years of age.
I do not believe that the costs of cardiovascular prevention will be covered to any significant extent by the public healthcare system in the near future. The costs of treating cardiovascular disease will most likely be too high to allow more than limited public resources to be transferred to the field of prevention. I think that in the short term cardiovascular prevention will be mainly financed by private citizens and by companies as a form of extended company health service. Perhaps insurance companies will also take an interest in this field. However, in the long run I believe that financing cardiovascular prevention is the responsibility of public healthcare systems. It is our responsibility as cardiovascular healthcare professionals to inform politicians and other decision-makers and make them realise this.
Soon after I got used to the idea of cardiovascular prevention, I found myself thinking that it is an obvious idea that goes without saying. How could I not always have been thinking like that? Still, just a few years ago I was deep into disease treatment, with little interest in cardiovascular prevention. Hopefully, most people will go through a similar transition in the near future.