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Circ J. 2013;77(12):2851-9. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Epidemiology of cardiovascular risk factors in Asian countries.

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Department of Health Science, Shiga University of Medical Science.


The distribution and burden of 5 conventional risk factors (elevated blood pressure, high total cholesterol, diabetes, obesity/overweight and smoking) for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) were reviewed in 10 selected Asian countries, in addition to the United Kingdom and the United States. Over the past 3 decades, age-standardized systolic blood pressure was on the decline in high-income countries but on the rise in low- to middle-income countries. Similar patterns were observed for total cholesterol levels, although the absolute levels remained higher in high-income countries. A pronounced increase in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus was seen in most of the Asian countries, corresponding to an increase in the levels of body mass index. The number of smokers declined markedly with time, particularly in men, in some selected Asian countries (Japan, Singapore, China, Vietnam). However, the prevalence of current smokers for all countries in 2011 remained excessive. The population-attributable risks for stroke and ischemic heart were highest for high blood pressure, followed by total cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. Evidence suggests that in both Asia and the West, no country is in sufficient control of any of these factors and that intervention programs to alter their effect on CVD are of equal importance.

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