Cardiovascular Disease among Middle Easterners

In the graph above, it is clear that higher death rates due to different types of cardiovascular disease are much more prevalent in the Middle East when compared to countries such as the United States and Germany.

There is a close relationship between race, genetics, and health. We saw an example of this in Lecture 2, which discussed the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in the Pima Indians, located in Central Arizona. A mutation in their ancestors, which allowed them to process sugars and store fats better, allowed them to survive and pass the gene down to the present-day Pima Indians through gene flow. Now, storage of fats when eating excessive amounts of food without exercise leads to obesity and diabetes. People within a certain race and living arrangement tend to share similar genetics and pass down genes that allow for survival to their progeny. These genes can sometimes be beneficial, but may also be harmful, as we have seen in the chance of diabetes for the Pima Indians.

I chose Cardiovascular disease in the Middle East since my dad was born in Baghdad, Iraq. When I was looking up the most common diseases in that area, the one that was most apparent was Cardiovascular disease. I think this disease is a large problem based on both social determinants and genetic factors. Studies have shown that social factors such as smoking are an issue. Some genetic factors include blood pressure and blood lipids. Lack of information and lack of health care also play a big role in countries like the Middle East. The Arab Gulf region is also more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. As the area is becoming more urbanized, it is more likely that the population will be exposed to air pollution and will develop bad eating habits. Diets become more based on fast food than fruits and vegetables.

Boumedjout, Hichem. “Cardiovascular Diseases on the Increase in Arab States.” Nature Middle East. Accessed July 7, 2014.

Fuster, Valentin, Bridget B. Kelly. Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010.


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