Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay

Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay

One of the most widespread global health problems is hypertension. It is also sometimes referred to as high blood pressure and generally there is one billion of people living with this problem today. Around nine million of them die annually from this condition. In case patients with hypertension do not receive appropriate treatment, then they are at a risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Traditionally cardiovascular diseases, as well as hypertension, were associated first of all with elderly people. Usually people over 40 were inclined towards these diseases. “A total of 460 236 deaths were recorded in South Africa in 2015, indicating a decline of 3,0% in deaths processed between 2015 and 2014 (474 659), this is according to the Mortality and causes of death, 2015 report released by Statistics South Africa today. The three leading causes of natural deaths in 2014 were tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus and cerebrovascular diseases.” (Keates, 2017).Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay Till the moment the leading cause of death in South Africa used to be tuberculosis, however non-communicable diseases continue to rapidly develop and rise towards their leading positions, if to compare the data from 2014 to the situation in 2015. Non-communicable diseases include diabetes mellitus, chronic lower respiratory diseases,  cerebrovascular diseases, other forms of heart disease, hypertensive diseases. “Non-communicable diseases are accountable for 62,5% in the top 10 leading causes of death among females aged 65 and above, whereas among males in the same age group these constituted 48,0%.” (Keates, 2017). One more age group, where the number of deaths from non-communicable diseases rises includes people of 45 to 64 years, both males and females.  These statistical data and findings are important for understanding of the scopes of the real problem with cardiovascular diseases in South Africa and its future perspectives. Thorough analysis of this data could be meaningful for working out the further plans for the South African Government’s National Development Plan to improve the state of the health of South African population by 2030.


The wave of cardiovascular diseases in South Africa started from the spread of “western” lifestyle, people started to abuse fast food, changed their eating habits, practice little or no exercise, they are under the impact of quick and mass urbanization. In addition there is one more unique challenge in South Africa. “As anti-retroviral treatment is rolled out to everyone living with HIV, and general improvements in health care take place, life expectancy is increasing. The incidence of hypertension is therefore likely to rise. It’s projected that 75% of older people will be hypertensive in low and middle income countries by 2025.” (Ali, 2017).Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay

At the moment there is a great problem of inadequate and scarce research of hypertension in South Africa. Some experts assume that people have vague ideas about this disease and correspondingly do not know the reasons of their health deterioration and do not ask for professional treatment. There was a short study conducted in South Africa in both rural areas and peri-urban settings. It showed that hypertension is really a great and serious problem for South Africa. It is evident that there is no enough attention paid to measuring and analyzing of the blood pressure by the population. Hypertension could be easily detected, all is needed is just to measure the blood pressure. In most regions of South Africa it is never done and this is the reason, why people there have no idea about their health problems and ways to solve them. Even that part of citizens, who know about their problems with hypertension, do not get access to adequate control and treatment measures. Taking these facts into consideration, it is evident that a lot of people in South Africa suffer from cardiovascular diseases and hypertension is definitely one of the leading health problems there; unfortunately due to lack of research and control over this problem, the situation continues to worsen.

The problem of cardiovascular diseases is acute for the whole continent; however some parts of it, for example South Africa, suffer more. There up to 50% of citizens between 40 to 60 years old suffer from hypertension. Even those individuals, who receive treatment, are to face lack of control, which reinforces doubts about the efficiency of this treatment. Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay Research helped to find the major causes of this difference between the regions. East Africa is at the moment in its early phase of the epidemiological and health transition and thus shows lower rates in related to hypertension. However, as soon as people from this region get better access to fast foods and change their lifestyles, they would most luckily be inclined to the same health care problems. At the moment South Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension on this continent. People there consume a lot of fast food and obesity has become a norm there. One more difference is related to gender. “Only 40% of the men who suffered from hypertension were aware of their condition. And of those who were aware and on treatment, only 39% had controlled blood pressure. Women, however, were more aware of their condition (54%) than men and just over half of those undergoing treatment had controlled blood pressure. This is a common observation that’s common in many studies of hypertension across the continent.” (Ali, 2017). It is not quite clear yet, why such difference between males and females exists in this aspect; one of the theories is related to higher level of employment by male population in comparison to women, as they might have limited access to the health care resources during their working hours.

In order to create good and workable plans for solving of the problem of cardiovascular diseases in South Africa, it is important to distinguish between modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. The second category includes such factors, which could not be changed under any conditions; these are for example ethnicity and age. Thus it is necessary to find the ways to change the modifiable factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and correct eating habits. There are ways not only to treat hypertension, but also to prevent it and these ways should not be ignored. Moreover treating of hypertension relies upon regular and proper control. Timely diagnosis of hypertension, high cholesterol and other health states, leading to cardiovascular diseases, plays vitally important role in overcoming of this problem.Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay

There is a need to work out the ways of promotion with the aim to improve the awareness by population and secure better access to appropriate health care for them. In addition creation of the primary health care facilities of the corresponding level should also be a good option for overcoming this challenge. Government has to play its role for improving of the health state of the citizens. Government interventions should be related to smoking and sugar consumption. Increase of physical activity is an important approach, which would help to improve the critical situation with cardiovascular diseases in South Africa.

Overall, the problem of rapid development of cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the leading health care issues in South Africa. More and more individuals of earlier age become exposed to this problem and thus there is an evident need to conduct the corresponding profound research and work out the necessary approaches towards this problem, which should not be limited to only health care services and facilities, but should also include prevention measures. Prevention would contribute to improving of the situation with elderly population and help younger individuals avoid cardiovascular diseases.Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay


Ali, Stuart. (2017). Hypertension is the silent killer disease spreading across an Africa that isn’t ready. University of the Witwatersrand

Keates, Ashley, K. (2017). Cardiovascular disease in Africa: epidemiological profile and challenges. Nature Reviews Cardiology

Mensah, G. A. et al. Mortality from cardiovascular diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis of data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Cardiovasc. J. Afr. 26, S6–S10 (2015

Opie. L and Dalby A. (2014) Cardiovascular Prevention: Lifestyle and statins – competitors or companions? South African Medical Journal. Vol.104 no.3. Available at:

Stassen, Wilma. (2014). Heart disease and stroke on the rise, warns report. Non-Communicable Diseases.Cardiovascular Diseases in South Africa Essay



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