Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

The Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Diseases: Focusing on Health Promotion and Policy in South Korea

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

The Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Diseases: Focusing on Health Promotion and Policy in South Korea

Article excerpt

Cardiovascular disease has become an increasing cause of death in South Korea, and globally, over the last 10 years. In this article Dr Hye-jin Sun of Kyungsung University, South Korea, explores a campaign in South Korea that emphasises the importance of knowing and managing one’s own blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally. An estimated 17.7 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2015, representing 31% of all global deaths.1 At present, cancer is the number one cause of death in South Korea, but cardiovascular disease is ranked a close second. According to Statistics Korea, over the course of the last 10 years (approximately 2005–2014), the rate of deaths resulting from cardiovascular diseases increased by approximately 40% and the trend is accelerating.2

The Red Circle Campaign has been conducted in South Korea since 2013 to provide information about methods for preventing and managing severe cerebrovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke and to actively implement such methods. In 2014, the first week of September was designated for a campaign about the prevention and management of cerebrovascular disease: it was conducted jointly among the autonomous si (city), gun (county) and gu (district) governments. The theme of the Red Circle Campaign from 2014 to 2016 was to ‘know the numbers of one’s own blood vessels’, which means that for the prevention and management of cerebrovascular diseases, it is important to know and manage one’s own blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A nationwide event was held to inform the public about how to do this.3 In addition, Red Circle Zones were operated in 255 health centres across the nation where anyone could check their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Quiz events on cerebrovascular diseases were conducted online and gu offices provided free public lectures on cerebrovascular diseases.4

Based on the very low awareness of those in their 30s and 40s of high blood pressure, diabetes and hypercholesterinemia, ‘Know the numbers of one’s own blood vessels’ was intensively promoted to workers in that age group. The South Korean government has introduced a diversity of strategies to combat cerebrovascular diseases: it has implemented a comprehensive cardio-cerebrovascular disease management measure and enabled the operation of a regional cerebrovascular centre in each of the 11 university hospitals. …

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