"China's standard of living and life expectancy have improved for many, but aging, dietary changes and reduced physical activity are leading to more heart disease and stroke," said lead author Andrew Moran. "Our study used a computer model to forecast future cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Chinese adults."
Moran and colleagues reviewed risk-factor surveys of Chinese adults, ages 35 to 84, since economic reforms in the 1980s, and used them to project future trends in blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and body weight. Although smoking prevalence has declined in men by more than ten percent since the mid-1980s, 62 percent of Chinese men still smoke, and 49 percent of nonsmokers, mostly women, are exposed to passive smoke, researchers said.
The researchers projected that annual rates of cardiovascular disease in China will increase by more than 50 percent due to aging and growth of the population alone between 2010 and 2030. And projected trends of increased blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes may result in an additional 23 percent increase in cardiac events. The risk factor trends alone may translate into 21.3 million more CVD events and 7.7 million related deaths between 2010 and 2030, researchers said.
Demographic changes, such as an aging population and fewer young people, will be the main driver of the CVD increase in China, a nation with approximately 1.3 billion. "We are seeing this as the start of a public health crisis that will only worsen in the next two decades," Moran said. Certain dietary factors, which this paper did not address, such as the high salt diet in Northern China, also have a bearing on cardiovascular disease rates, Moran added.
Reducing smoking to 20 percent of the male population by 2020 and ten percent by 2030, or lowering average systolic blood pressure by four points in men and women, would significantly counteract adverse trends in other risk factors and prevent between 2.9 and 5.7 million deaths by 2030, according to the study. Aggressive anti-tobacco policies and preventive efforts aimed at controlling elevated blood pressure are two promising areas that need to be studied in more detail, Moran said.
MEDICA.de; Source: Columbia University Medical Center