Once considered a disease of affluent societies, cardiovascular disease (heart disease) has now swamped the world and become the leading cause of death around the globe, even among poorer countries. Instead of learning from the unfortunate history of heart disease in the United States, developing countries are developing their own vascular difficulties. This is true even though a few simple, natural methods can protect all of us from this scourge.
Heart Disease Spreads
According to research by Valentin Fuster and Bridget Burke Kelly, “nearly 30 percent of all deaths in low and middle income countries are attributable to CVD [cardiovascular disease], and more than 80 percent of CVD-related deaths worldwide now occur in low and middle income countries.”
As Fuster and Kelly observe, “The ‘westernization’ of dietary habits, decreased levels of physical activity, increased childhood obesity, and increased tobacco consumption — accelerated by industrialization, urbanization, and globalization — now threaten once-low-risk regions.” China is a prime example of this.
Heart Disease In China
China is an enormous country with 1.34 billion citizens. It has an ancient culture dating back thousands of years, and it is fast becoming prominent on the world stage. While once threatened by widespread infectious diseases, China now struggles with cardiovascular complications, which have become its biggest killers among middle-aged citizens. This rise stems from increases in smoking, high blood pressure, poor nutrition and too little exercise.
Every 10 seconds someone in China succumbs to heart disease. China’s Ministry of Health’s National Center for Cardiovascular Disease reports that about six people die from cardiovascular diseases every minute in China and nearly 3 million people die from cardiovascular diseases in China every year. The number of heart disease patients in rural areas exceeds those in small towns and medium-sized cities, according to the report.
In 2005, Robert Beaglehole, who was then the World Health Organization’s director of chronic diseases, said the health transition occurred gradually as China became more prosperous: More people migrated from farms into cities, physical activity decreased, eating habits changed and smoking increased.
Heart Disease In The US
Since the end of World War II, the United States has been the dominant superpower in the world. But we’ve also been dominant in heart disease incidence.
According to The Heart Foundation, about 1 million Americans die each year from heart disease: “Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease.” Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 27 million adults are walking around with heart disease. Not surprisingly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
CDC Offers Solution To Heart Disease
In general, heart disease is more devastating in poorer states and neighborhoods. As the CDC reports, “Substantial disparities by sex, race/ethnicity, and education were observed in the prevalence of [heart disease] … A previous analysis suggested that up to 60% of the variation in state heart-disease mortality is a result of differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among states, which has been attributed to differences in cultural norms, lack of economic opportunity, poverty, and social isolation.”
To protect yourself against heart disease, take control of your own life, lifestyle and individual environment. Eat plenty of whole, nutritious foods. Get some exercise every day. Defuse your stress. Don’t smoke. Engage in plenty of rewarding social interaction. Keep your weight under control. Make your life a heart-healthy example for the rest of the world.
Andhranews.net. (2011). “Six Patients Die very Minute of Heart Disease in China.”http://www.andhranews.net/Health/2011/Six-patients-die-every-six-minute-heart-905.htm#ixzz1XI6j5kYD
China Daily (2005, Sept. 15). “Heart Disease, Cancer Top Killers in China.”http://www.china.org.cn/english/Life?142257.htm
Centers for Disease Control. (2007, Feb, 16). “Prevalence of Heart Disease — United States, 2005.” MMWR, 56(06); 113-118.
Fuster, V. & Kelly, B.B. (2010). “Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health.