Heart disease and stroke hit younger in developing countries, new report shows

n the U.S. in the 1950s before we started to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke aggressively," Dr. Raymond said.

Cardiovascular disease is an often-unrecognized cause of impaired health among women. In South Africa, for example, the report notes that "despite the predominance of HIV/AIDS, the proportion of deaths occurring among people aged 35-44 due to chronic disease, mainly CVD, is 12% for men, and an amazing 17.2% for women."

Jeffrey D Sachs, director of the Earth Institute, explained why the impact of heart disease and stroke is particularly devastating in rapidly developing societies. "These diseases exact a crippling toll on more vulnerable countries, hitting not only individuals and their families, but the economies of nations," Dr. Sachs said in launching the report. "While fighting communicable diseases such as AIDS and Malaria in these countries is crucial, we must not forget to address these other potentially devastating and preventable conditions. In 2020, the less developed nations will have 500 million people aged over 65 years. By 2040 there will be a billion people of this age in these countries. They are the ones most susceptible to these conditions."

A team at Columbia University, led by Professor Leeder*, an Australian epidemiologist and former dean of the University of Sydney medical school, prepared the report, entitled A Race against Time, supported by the Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in The Developing Countries and the Australian Health Policy Institute at the University of Sydney. The team studied five countries: Brazil, South Africa, Tatarstan, India and China. The researchers combined population estimates for the five countries with current death rates and workforce data to calculate the future effects of CVD both on society and on the workforce.

"In just the five countries surveyed," said Dr. Leeder, "our conservative estimates are that at least 21 million years of future producti

Contact: Jennifer Freeman
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

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