Limited Cardiovascular Disease Healthcare in Third World Countries
Updated: Jun 15
February is nationally recognized as “Heart Month” since 1964 to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the importance of cardiovascular health. Today, CVD is the number one cause of death. In 2017, CVD killed approximately 17.9 million people, and it is responsible for 31% of global deaths.
In developing countries, CVD became the number one cause of death and is the hotspot of 75% of global CVD deaths. While degrading the health of those living in developing countries, CVD also places an economic burn on the entire country because it tends to affect individuals during their prime working years. Developing countries such as India, China, and South Africa will affect 40% of adults between the ages of 35 and 64 years compared with 10% in the United States.
Why are CVDs most prevalent in developing countries? The biggest problem that developing countries face is the lack of access to an effective healthcare system and their limited healthcare resources. Many people do not have the luxury of healthcare programs for early detection and treatment that respond to their needs.
Healthcare disparities emerge because of numerous social stratification forms—socioeconomic, political, cultural, and education level. Inequalities are also related to income and other socioeconomic factors.
Fun Fact: 80% of cardiac events are preventable through lifestyle changes and healthy habits. According to the American Heart Association, including heart-healthy foods and dishes that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium can help prevent cardiac events. By reducing your intake of such fats and sodium, you aid in the lowering of your blood cholesterol, which as stated by the U.S National Library of Medicine, lowers your chance of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds also contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle. In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, physical activity, such as running, walking, and muscle strengthening activities, are proven to prevent cardiac events.
To this day, millions of people living in the developing world continue to lack access to basic healthcare. This continued inequity is what results in a disproportionate number of cardiovascular related deaths.
“Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs).” World Health Organization (WHO), 17 May 2017, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds).
Gaziano, Thomas A. “Reducing The Growing Burden Of Cardiovascular Disease In The Developing World.” PubMed Central (PMC), 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2365905.
“Heart Disease and Diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002436.htm.
Orach, Christopher Garimoi. “Health Equity: Challenges in Low Income Countries.” PubMed Central (PMC), Oct. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877288.
Rackley, Kristina. “February Is American Heart Month: Here Are 29 Heart Facts You Need to Know.” Post and Courier, Aiken Standard, 7 Feb. 2020, www.postandcourier.com/aikenstandard/lifestyle/february-is-american-heart-month-here-are-29-heart-facts-you-need-to-know/article_57923ee0-9e9e-5f95-9ffe-b974c9023a85.html.
“The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.” Www.heart.org, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations.