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The World in Medicine
March 11, 1998

Global Threat of Heart Disease

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JAMA. 1998;279(10):739. doi:10.1001/jama.279.10.739-JWM80000-5-1

India, China, and other developing nations face an epidemic of heart disease and stroke that could devastate their economies, researchers have warned in a new report.

As developing countries pursue new levels of industrialization, increases in smoking, consumption of high-fat foods, and other lifestyle risks could cause morbidity and mortality rates from cardiovascular disease to outpace those predicted on the basis of aging populations.

The proportion of cardiovascular disease deaths in urban China tripled from 1957 to 1990, from 12% to 36% of all deaths, said K. Srinath Reddy, MD, professor of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and lead author of the report in the February 17 Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. In India, he said, deaths from circulatory system diseases are projected to increase 103% in men and 90% in women from 1985 to 2015 based on demographic trends that do not even consider lifestyle changes.

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