For most populations, the last century has witnessed the most dramatic improvements in health. Life expectance increased form average of 46 to 66 years. With industrialization & globalization, the major causes of death & disability have shifted from nutritional deficiencies & infections to cardiovascular diseases which is the most common cause of death worldwide accounting for approximately 30% in high-income countries versus 28% in low-income countries.
The Middle East & North Africa region show rates just below the high-income nations due to daily fat consumption ranging from 13.6% increase in Sudan to 14.3% increase in Saudi Arabia.
The burden of cardiovascular diseases changed due to change of global trends in risk factors:
1-Lipid levels: high cholesterol levels due to greater consumption of animal fat & processed oils as well as by decreased physical activity. It is estimated to cause 56% of ischemic heart disease.
2-Hypertension cause 49% of ischemic heart disease and this is due to high rate of undetected or untreated hypertension.
3-Smoking commonly cause ischemic heart disease & 5 million deaths annually. Smoking is easy in urban countries due to availability & relatively inexpensive tobacco products.
4-Diet & decrease of plant-based foods is key elements in the development of cardiovascular diseases.
5-Physical inactivity & shifting from physical demanding countries to motorized countries & office-based work.
6-Obesity can be seen in countries with under-nutrition at same level with rich countries and represents for 50-75% of adults especially women.
7-Diabetes mellitus is projected to double in Middle East by 2025 and it is associated with increased of cardiac diseases by two to three folds compared to non-diabetic.
Dr. Sherif Abuelenin