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Epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease in the Seychelles Islands (Indian Ocean)
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This article presents selected findings and lessons from a cardiovascular research and prevention program initiated in 1989 in the Republic of Seychelles, a country in demographic and epidemiological transition. Rapid and sustained aging of the population (e.g., two-fold increase of people aged 30-39 from 1979 to 1995) implies, over the next few decades, further dramatic increase of the burden of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD). Epidemiological surveillance shows high age-specific rates of CVD (particularly stroke), high prevalence of peripheral atherosclerosis (plaques in carotid and femoral arteries), high prevalence of classical modifiable risk factors in the adult population (particularly hypertension), and substantial proportions of children with overweight. Stagnant life expectancy in men and an increase in women have been observed over the last two decades; this occurred despite largely improved health services and reduced infant mortality rates, and may reflect the large CVD burden found in middle-aged men (less so in middle-aged women). A national program of prevention of CVD has been initiated since 1991, which includes a mix of interventions to reduce risk factors in the general population and in high-risk individuals. Substantial research to back the prevention program indeed shows, at the moment, epidemiological patterns in Seychelles similar to those observed in Western countries (e.g., an association between peripheral atherosclerosis [as a proxy of CVD] and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and [inversely] walking). This clearly supports the view that promotion of healthy lifestyles and control of conventional risk factors should be the main targets for CVD prevention and control.
Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Cardiovascular Diseases/prevention & control , Seychelles
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