South African Medical Journal

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Health actions and disease patterns related to coronary heart disease in the coloured population of the Cape Peninsula

K Steyn, M Steyn, ML Langenhoven, JE Rossouw, J Fourie


The health-related behaviour of the Cape Peninsula coloured population, which has been shown to have an adverse coronary heart disease (CHO) risk factor profile, is reported. Private medical services were used most often by participants: 54,1% and 51,6% of males and females respectively had made use of these services during the preceding year. Only 17,9% and 21,8% of males and females respectively had attended day hospitals during the year. Blood pressures were measured in 43,8% and 57,1% of male and female participants respectively during the year preceding the study. The results indicated the need for the measurement of blood pressure to determine the true prevalence of hypertension, since patient reporting of the condition was inaccurate. Attempts to give up smoking had been made by 44,4% of male and 47,1% of female smokers. About 75% of the participants were found to have hypercholesterolaemia, yet their knowledge of the prudent diet was poor and few reported appropriate dietary modifications to protect against CHO. Frequent reporting of hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension and constipation by the study population highlights the need for dietary education. Mortality rates (MRs) for CHO and cerebrovascular disease (CVO) for the coloured and the white populations were compared. In all age groups white males had higher MRs for CHO than coloured males, while coloured females older than 34 years had higher rates than their white counterparts. The coloured population had MRs for CVO that were higher than those of whites.

S Afr Med J 1990; 78: 73-77

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