Cardiovascular Diseases; Africans Ought To Be Wary


Ivan with his cousin Lawrence

A social media friend of mine once posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that a classmate of theirs had got a stroke. My eyes almost popped out of their sockets. My eyes are already big, so that wouldn’t be news; they are half way out of the sockets anyway, but the news was that this friend of his was a university student.


Ivan Ssemwanga the self proclaimed Don, God rest his rich soul in peace, met his maker because of a cardiovascular disease. As you well know, these diseases are slowly cropping up and they  will replace the infectious diseases that have for a long time been the causes of death in Sub Saharan Africa.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally.  Together they resulted in 17.9 million deaths (32.1%) in 2015 up from 12.3 million (25.8%) in 1990. Deaths, at a given age, from CVD are more common and have been increasing in much of the developing world, while rates have declined in most of the developed world since the 1970s. Coronary artery disease and stroke account for 80% of CVD deaths in males and 75% of CVD deaths in females. Most cardiovascular disease affects older adults. In the United States 11% of people between 20 and 40 have CVD, while 37% between 40 and 60, 71% of people between 60 and 80, and 85% of people over 80 have CVD. The average age of death from coronary artery disease in the developed world is around 80 while it is around 68 in the developing world. Disease onset is typically seven to ten years earlier in men as compared to women.


In 2013 approximately 6.9 million people had an ischemic stroke and 3.4 million people had a hemorrhagic stroke. In 2015 there were about 42.4 million people who had previously had a stroke and were still alive. Between 1990 and 2010 the number of strokes which occurred each year decreased by approximately 10% in the developed world and increased by 10% in the developing world. In 2015, stroke was the second most frequent cause of death after coronary artery disease, accounting for 6.3 million deaths (11% of the total). About 3.0 million deaths resulted from ischemic stroke while 3.3 million deaths resulted from hemorrhagic stroke. About half of people who have had a stroke live less than one year. Overall, two thirds of strokes occurred in those over 65 years old.

In 2013 hypertensive heart disease resulted in 1.07 million deaths as compared with 630,000 deaths in 1990. (Wikipedia)

Ivan in his good days with Zari, the wife at the time

Prevention is not only possible but also manageable as it includes healthy eating, exercise, avoiding tobacco smoke and limited alcohol intake.The human body is funny and humble at the same time. It reacts to how you treat it. So it obeys the Isaac Newton’s laws of motion as well; Action and reaction are always equal and opposite.

If you eat unhealthy, never leave the bar except when you can crawl to your car, if you smoke more than a chimney in a Chinese factory, your body is  watching and silently taking notes.It will give you an end of  life time report some day, only that you might read it while your eyes are firmly focused on the ceiling.


So; be intentional and purposefully live healthy. These diseases are not far from us as we always thought they were. They are not contagious; you won’t get them by sharing an elevator, and they are within your control, which is the best news ever.


2 thoughts on “Cardiovascular Diseases; Africans Ought To Be Wary

  1. Right here is the right blog for everyone who would like to understand this
    topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to
    argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).

    You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for
    many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    • thanks. you are trying to raise my esteem hahahah. I was presenting this in my public health class BTW. so its a field I thought people should pay attention to. you are kind.

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