More than 60% of deaths in B’dos from cardiovascular diseases

The original article can be found in: The Barbados Advocate By Patricia Thangaraj

Cardiovascular diseases account for over 60 per cent of deaths in Barbados, in both males and females.

This was revealed by Professor of Vascular Research and Acting Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC), Dr. Clive Landis, who spoke to the Barbados Advocate recently at the CDRC.

He stated that the top five causes of deaths in females are heart disease, cancers, diabetes, strokes and hypertension, all of which are chronic non-communicable diseases; while for males, the top causes of death are heart disease, cancers, injuries from violence, strokes and diabetes with hypertension coming in seventh for males. These figures are for Caribbean countries, including Barbados, but excluding Jamaica, he said.

He noted that this presents a scary picture. “I think the picture is pretty overwhelming that the causes of death in the last 50 years have shifted from infectious diseases – the only one that makes the top ten is HIV/AIDS which, for both males and females, comes in at number six – but that represents a shift from the prevailing situation 50 years ago where the leading causes of death would have been infectious diseases. But now it is the chronic non-communicable diseases, which all of them including cancers are linked to lifestyle.”

Dr. Landis stated that this practice of living unhealthy lifestyles comes hand in hand with development, where certain countries such as these islands in the region including Barbados have gone past being underdeveloped, but have not quite yet reached the full stages of development.

“We are at a very awkward intermediate stage of development where we have already taken on the sedentary lifestyles – most of us sit down for our jobs, we don’t grow a lot of our own crops in our backyard garden and we eat a lot of energy dense foods, which is a lifestyle that is mostly a Western enculturation.”

Unfortunately, this puts us in a difficult situation as can be seen by the evidence. “It is inevitable with development, so in science, it is very rare that you find what is known as a perfect correlation. But if you put the prevalence of diabetes across the African Diaspora, so moving from a low prevalence setting like rural Nigeria to an urban Nigerian setting to the Caribbean – a number of countries like the Dominican Republic, then to Grenada, then to Barbados and then to the African Diaspora in the UK and the USA; if you plot the prevalence of diabetes against per capita income in the country, you get a straight line, a perfect correlation.”

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