Author(s): Smith SM, Mensah GA
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Abstract Within the clinical and public health communities, it is often unnoticed that the developing world is experiencing an aging population with its attendant increase in the burden of chronic, noncommunicable diseases. From July 1999 to July 2000, 77\% of the world's net gain in elderly persons occurred in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the number of persons aged 65 years and older is expected to increase by 50\% in 2015, from 19.3 million to 28.9 million. This demographic change has profound implications for developing countries that already shoulder a huge burden of communicable diseases, especially the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and continue to be challenged by basic infrastructure needs and economic development. In the 30-year period from 2000 to 2030, the population of elderly persons is projected to double in many Sub-Saharan African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Cameroon, and Ghana. The scale and magnitude of these demographic changes are unprecedented. Since advancing age is the most powerful independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, the impact of these demographic changes on heart disease and stroke will be substantial. Aggressive efforts in promoting healthy aging and the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors will be crucial in preventing an impending cardiovascular epidemic in these countries.
This article was published in Ethn Dis
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal