Persons living in the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) Member States are at very high risk of becoming affected by cardiovascular diseases. CARPHA Members states are essentially Caricom territories, Guyana included.
Cardiovascular diseases, commonly referred to as CVDs, are in fact the number one cause of death and illness among these populations, CARPHA has uncovered. Associated conditions are disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions.
While some people are born with conditions that predispose them to heart disease and stroke, CARPHA said that a pre-existing heart condition and other physiological factors, including diabetes, hypertension or high blood cholesterol also increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, most people who develop cardiovascular diseases, do so because of a combination of risk factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity overweight and obesity, raised or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking of tobacco and excessive use of alcohol. The more risk factors you expose yourself to, the higher your chance of developing CVDs, CARHPA has noted.
Studies show that cardiovascular disease risk can be reduced through consumption of healthy foods including adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, reducing body weight to normal levels, increasing physical activity, reducing blood pressure to normal levels, lowering cholesterol, stopping smoking and avoiding harmful use of alcohol.
Although some risk factors for CVDs such as age or family history, cannot be controlled, Dr. Glennis Andall-Brereton, Senior Technical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases at CARPHA urges all to “take responsibility for your health by making changes to reduce risk factors. Reducing risk factors improves your chances of leading a heart-healthy life.”
CARPHA, moreover, encourages its member states to take action to lower chances of developing cardiovascular disease. In this regard the Agency has committed to support member states in moving towards improving population health by reducing risk factors, to achieve reductions in premature deaths from cardiovascular disease and other non communicable diseases.