Rising heart disease in the Caribbean: A call to action

Heart disease, a global health concern, is making its presence felt in the Caribbean region, with an alarming increase in incidence, particularly among the younger demographic. This surge is largely attributed to lifestyle changes, including a preference for processed foods, decreased physical activity, and increased tobacco use.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in collaboration with regional partners, has launched initiatives such as the Caribbean Expanded Salt Initiative and the Six-Point Policy Package to combat this growing issue. These programs aim to reduce salt consumption, address childhood obesity, and promote heart-healthy behaviors, according to Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at CARPHA.

World Heart Day, celebrated annually on the 29th of September, serves as a global reminder of the importance of heart health. This year’s campaign, Know Heart, Use Heart, emphasizes the importance of understanding our hearts.

The primary risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) include poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, and obesity. Several Caribbean countries have seen a rise in these risk factors and consequently an increase in heart disease prevalence.

The incidence of heart disease varies across countries and territories within the Caribbean due to factors such as healthcare infrastructure and socioeconomic conditions. However, the implementation of the Caribbean (Regional) NCD Surveillance System will provide valuable data on prevention and control measures for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease.

Dr. Heather Armstrong, Head of Chronic Disease and Injury at CARPHA emphasizes the role individuals play in reducing heart disease burden. Regular health check-ups and adopting heart-healthy lifestyles to include a heart-healthy diet rich in whole foods, can significantly lower risk factors. Communities can support these choices by providing safe spaces for exercise and access to fresh and nutritious foods.

CARPHA encourages everyone – governments, civil society groups, regional organizations, and communities – to take action. Establishing and enforcing NCD prevention policies can enhance life quality. Take a moment today to show some love to your heart…because we love and protect only what we know.

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  1. Jonathan Y St Jean
    October 2, 2023

    When there was a high level of road fatalities and research showed that using seatbelts save lives, governments around the world took measures to pass legislation to save people from themselves as it were, and enacted mandatory seatbelt laws. Now considering the high incidence of heart disease in the region of known causes, Can’t the governments pass legislation to curtail some of these risky behaviors which contribute to the problem, and once again save people from themselves? I know some clowns will say things like freedom of choice if legislation is enacted to cut down on salt content, alcohol consumption by requiring drinks have lower alcohol content etc. but don’t have any freedom of choice argument pertaining to the enforcement of seatbelt wearing laws, neither on mandatory driving on the left side of the roads. Stop the animal farm mentality and do the right thing, save the abusers from themselves.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • Padna
      October 4, 2023

      The likes of KFC should be sent packing. When the owner opened a branch in Portsmouth to satisfy the hunger of the students, the project failed miserably. The students were all medical students and they knew you can’t survive on junk food infect you do damage to your own body. However, Dominicans could not care less…

  2. angelwatch
    October 2, 2023

    Every human being on planet earth is made up of three (3), spirit, soul and body.
    Why then should the medical society respond to the issues of life as body ONLY and leave out spirit and soul. The WORD of God in Proverbs 4:23 states clearly that we should, and I quote, “keep thy HEART with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”.
    Every human being is in a RELATIONSHIP; therefore it is not strange that illness arises from the problems/issues (negative stress) of our every lives, and not food only.
    What about considering assisting with the removal of the trapped soul/emotional traumas which surrounds the HEART. It is these negative energies that creates illness in the body. Why can’t we consider resolving with psychosocial social consultancy, helping others meet their soulish as well as physical needs and thereby bringing harmony to the people of our earth?

    • Man bite dogs
      October 4, 2023

      We are not talking about bible classes right now, It is about heart disease in the Caribbean, Go preach to Ibo,he has 👹satan in his heart

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