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Burden of cardiovascular risk factors of a rural population in South India using the WHO multivariable risk prediction algorithm

Gift Norman, Carolin George, Aditi Krishnamurthy, Devashri Mukherjee.


Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) account for almost half of all non-communicable disease related deaths and are now the leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries including India. There is no published data on multivariable risk prediction for cardiovascular disease from rural India.

Aims & Objective: Determine the cardiovascular risk profile and the 10 year risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular event in a rural population.

Materials and Methods: A community based cross sectional study was done in 47 villages of Karnataka over a period of 3 years. A total of 3780 adults were screened for CVD risk factors. Various risk stratification criteria including the WHO 10 year risk of fatal/ non-fatal CVD event were used to study the magnitude of individual and aggregated risk factors for CVD.

Results: The study reveals a high prevalence of CVD risk factors despite using three different risk stratification methods. The prevalence of at least one modifiable CVD risk factor in the population was 98.5%. An alarming 15.2% of the population had a high risk (>30%) of getting fatal or non-fatal MI or stroke in 10 years. Older age, lack of education, physical inactivity and family history of MI/ stroke were associated with high risk for CVD.

Conclusion: The prevalence of CVD risk factors as well as the probability of a fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event is very high in this rural population. This warrants strategies that would improve awareness and promote healthy life-styles to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in this population.

Key words: Cardiovascular diseases, risk factors, rural population, WHO, Prevalence

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