Monday, January 19, 2009


The December 16th issue of Circulation very aptly focused on Cardiovascular Disease in Asia. Led by the Japanese workers, the issue highlights the problem of CVD in Asia, its rising trends and the differences between CVD in Asia and CVD in Western countries. We know from WHO data, that CVD in western countries seem to be under control and that by 2010, cancer will replace CVD as the number 1 cause of death in Western countries. We also know that by then 85% of CVD deaths worldwide will occur in low and middle-income countries ( or mainly developing and second world countries ). Reading the reports, it is also interesting to note that while the Western countries CVD problem are mainly cardiac, ie cardiac deaths, AMI and revascularisation, in Asia, the CVD problem is mainly hypertension and strokes as a cause of CVD. It looks like smoking and high salt in our Asian diet is causing people in India and China to develop hypertension ( there is a higher incidence of hypertension in India and China then Western countries ), which often results in strokes. The Japanese seem to be different in that they are more " Western " and have more cardiac atherosclerosis then the Indians and Chinese.
Yes, as alluded to in the newspaper today, there also seem to be a genetic component to the CVD problem in Asia. This will form the basis of another blog in the near future.
I suppose I learn from the Circulation report, that our Japanese colleagues have again taken the lead in trying to highlight the CVD problem in Asia, on the world stage, so that countries can know the problem and divert important healthcare resources to it. I only wish that our own local centers of excellence have done that.
I also learn that diet ( salty, fatty foods prevalent in Asia ) and also smoking, are important root causes of the CVD problems. And so the CVD problem can be controlled in Asia, if the health care authorities wishes to.
I also learn that hypertension and strokes are more important that cardiac atherosclerosis as a cause of CVD deaths and morbidity, in Asia for the moment.
So let us all eat less salt, and also get our BP checked and controlled. Eat more greens and fruits. Stroke is a great killer and one stroke can change your life forever.

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