Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as in the rest of the world, with increasingly increasing morbidity and mortality. We are presenting here, not the results of an epidemiological study, but rather a reflection on the problem of CVD and their risk factors (RFs) in SSA, taking into account the differences in lifestyle between rural and urban areas, the objective being to highlight the differences in the epidemiological profile trends relating to CVDs and their RFs between these two environments on the basis of existing data, to indicate some characteristic features of lifestyle in these two environments and to draw lessons from this in terms of the prospects for combating this new epidemic in this part of the world. We have indicated in this presentation that the prevalence of CVDs as well as that of their RFs show increasing trends in SSA due to new lifestyles linked in particular to urbanization and its numerous economic and social corollaries. However, data on their geographical and sociological distribution, especially in rural and urban areas, are still incomplete. The first existing epidemiological surveys seem to indicate that they are more firmly established in urban areas than in rural areas, probably linked to the difference in lifestyles between these two areas. We concluded by mentioning that it is necessary for SSA states to take the option of launching vast epidemiological and clinical research programs tending to make basic epidemiological data available, taking into account the specific geographic and sociological characteristics of African society. This knowledge, documented in the form of scientific evidence, would make it possible to consider with relevance and effectiveness measures to combat this new epidemic in developing countries.
Part of the book: Lifestyle and Epidemiology