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Cardiovasc Clin. 1991;21(3):377-91.

Heart disease in blacks of Africa and the Caribbean.


Cardiovascular pathology in African and Afro-Caribbean blacks features three major conditions: hypertension, rheumatic heart disease, and the cardiomyopathies. Ischemic heart disease is as yet distinctly uncommon in these societies but the adoption of Western lifestyle and its inevitable risk factors for atherosclerosis makes it likely that coronary artery disease will emerge ultimately. Hypertension poses special problems in these regions--its prevalence rate is high both in rural and urban settings, its consequences devastating in its severity of target organ involvement, and its management strategy complicated by the high cost of drugs, poor patient compliance, and the lack of clinical resources for effective monitoring of detected and referred cases. Rheumatic heart disease remains an eminently preventable condition. The ultimate strategy lies in improving the quality of life in these communities through adequate housing, sanitation, and health education, and integrating primary prophylaxis into national health care programs to forestall the development of rheumatic fever. Cardiomyopathy poses the greatest challenge as its etiology remains elusive. Its dilated form has been linked with Toxoplasma and with Coxsackie B viruses, but hard evidence of a cause-effect relationship is still lacking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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