Australian scientists are now describing in the journal Nature Review Cardiology why many populations of the African continent are currently disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease and will also be in the future (1). The results show that the range of heart and vascular diseases expanded in correlation with the changing socio-economic status and the associated living (and eating) habits (2).
Hypertension, smoking and obesity are increasing the risk of non-communicable diseases in general and coronary heart diseases in particular. At the same time, the prevalent burden of rheumatoid-related cardiac diseases remains high since efforts on treating or preventing them have barely been implemented so far.
The publication on the epidemiological profile and challenges of cardiovascular disease in Africa (1) as well as other studies clusters the results into the regions of Northern, Eastern, Western, Southern and Central Africa. Since comprehensive statistics are missing, study results from individual countries were extrapolated where needed to create an image for whole regions of the continent. For example, the correlation between malnutrition and cardiovascular disease for Nigeria provides the indication for the whole of West Africa (3). The results of multinational studies round out the presentation but also show the great need for action in epidemiological research for Africa (4):
The poor data on health care in almost all African countries, as well as the low level of investment by governments in research and development, imply the limited power of the data to provide an accurate assessment of cardiovascular disease and risk factors in African countries, which also limits effective healthcare planning.
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(1) AK Keates et al. Cardiovascular disease in Africa: epidemiological profile and challenges. Nature Reviews Cardiology 14,273–293 (2017) Available via: https://www.nature.com/nrcardio/journal/v14/n5/full/nrcardio.2017.19.html
(2) see also: K Sliwa et al. Impact of Socioeconomic Status, Ethnicity, and Urbanization on Risk Factor Profiles of Cardiovascular Disease in Africa. Circulation 133, 1199-1208. (2016) Available via: https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.008730
(3) Cf. I Arodiwe et al. Nutritional status of congenital heart disease (CHD) patients: burden and determinant of malnutrition at university of Nigeria teaching hospital Ituku — Ozalla, Enugu. Pak. J. Med. Sci. 31, 1140–1145 (2015). https://pjms.com.pk/index.php/pjms/article/download/6837/3658.
(4) cf. (1), table 3. Large international studies of cardiovascular disease including an African cohort