Chronic noncommunicable diseases currently are reaching epidemic proportions in the Americas and are contributing substantially to overall mortality and disease burden in the Region. They result from complex and dynamic socially determined health processes, including epidemiological and demographic transitions. Once thought to be an issue primarily affecting the older population in high-income countries, chronic noncommunicable diseases are now affecting younger population segments and the poor in the lower-income countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The means for preventing and controlling most noncommunicable diseases are already well established and high-income countries—followed by middle-income countries— are now showing continuous progress in both prevention and control interventions.
The low- and lower-middle-income countries, on the other hand, face the dual challenge of coping with scarce resources to address both noncommunicable and communicable diseases, as well as infant and maternal mortality.
Among chronic noncommunicable diseases, cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Americas, occurring increasingly within the working age population and thereby contributing disproportionately to the loss of potential years of healthy life and economic productivity. This situation is already recognized as a major and growing public health problem, particularly affecting low- and middle-income countries, but what is less recognized is the role of social disparities as determinants of the premature mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in the Region.
The purpose of this publication is to call the attention of the general public and the governments of the Americas to an exploratory analysis of the relationship between premature mortality due to cerebrovascular diseases (CeVD) and potential socioeconomic inequality determinants at the ecological level.
The map on the first page of this brochure depicts the quintile distribution of proportional premature mortality due to cerebrovascular disease in the countries and territories of the Americas.
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