The imminent pandemic of cardiovascular disease PART 1
In the past 30 years in some western countries, mortality from cardiovascular diseases decreased, while in developing countries, was observed a substantial growth. In the coming decades, premature morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease will double, and 80% of victims will be in the developing countries.
With the exception of some countries in the South Sahara, all regions of the globe shows a marked increase in mortality from myocardial infarction. Between 1990 and 2000 the rate of MIs, in the countries that have belonged to the socialist camp, increased by 32% in men and by 18% women.
During the same period, in China increased by 21% in men and by 9% in women; and in other asian countries, the frequency of myocardial infarcts increased by 21% in men and 15% in women.
The increasing of cardiovascular disease numbers in developing countries is the consequence of at least three factors:
- first, the decrease of mortality from infectious diseases and the increasing of life, with a number increasingly large of people who reached middle age;
- secondly, changes in lifestyle related to urbanization and industrialization;
- thirdly, a special susceptibility of the concerned populations.
It seems that lifestyle changes have a leading role, and they could be influenced the most easily. It is about alimentation, physical activity and tobacco.
The globalization of trade and food productions allowed the access to cheap oils and fats, increasing the consumption of food rich in energy but low in fiber and in micronutrients.
Another feature of nutritional change is the transition from vegetable protein to animal protein, the marking growth consumption of refined glucides, sweets and white flour, with the inevitable consequence of obesity. These changes are now taking place even within the low income populations, and are accelerated by urbanization.
Studies carried in Brazil, between 1974 and 1989 shows the growth obesity frequency, from 21% to 33%. In China, in urban centers the fat consumption exceeds 30% of total energy intake, while in rural areas it is between 14 and 19%. Also in China, in urban centers, sedentary activities predominate, and among the population with medium and high income, obesity is often meet.
Unfortunately, in all developing countries also increases the tobacco consumption, while in most western countries the trend is reverse.
In India, mortality from tobacco, which in 1990 was 1%, in 2020 will reach 13%. In the countries that used to belong to communist camp, the mortality directly produced by tobacco will increase from 14% to 23%. In 2025, in China, only tobacco will produce, per year, over 2 million deaths.
The undeniable progress made by medical science have given to many a false feeling of safety, meaning that most health issues are resolved with medication and using sophisticated medical equipment. So maybe the only thing I have to do it’s to take care of a comprehensive medical insurance, and in the rest I can live peacefully, as parents and grandparents lived.
A recent study showed that 71% of European population believe that their alimentation is absolutely healthy and that there is no need of change in the diet and life style. This satisfaction, in terms of how diet, is not shared by nutritionists who, with great effort, but small results, are trying to change the eating habits of the population.
Most willing to improve the diet are finns – 46% of the population recognize the need for change, nd this is not without any reason. The high consumption of dairy products, meat and coffee, along with smoking, made Finland to be one of the countries with the most cases of myocardial infarction. it seems that Finns begin to understand the need for change.
Most convinced that everything they do is good are italians: 83% of them consider that there is no need for any change and that “la dolce vita” can follow the normal course. It seems that latins, necessarily have to teach their own experience, which sometimes it costs a lot!
The reality is that, of the eight main causes of mortality in the developed countries, excess weight is involved in at least four of causes: coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
Studying the factors that regulates food intake, nutritionists have found that the energy density, ie calorie content, represents a very important factor.