20/20: 20% of Brazilians Have Diabetes and 20% Have High Cholesterol

According to the Brazilian Society of Cardiology (SBC), diabetes is one of the most worrisome risk factors contributing to cardiac disease and is directly related to increased mortality rates.

Wednesday, September 14, the SBC presented the study, Hearts of Brazil, to the Ministry of Health.


According to the study, diabetes is present in the 9% of the population with blood sugar levels in excess of 110 mg/dl – a concentration the SBC considers sufficient to define the presence of the disease.


For the American Diabetes Society, however, blood sugar levels above 99 mg/dl are enough to classify patients as diabetics. In this case, the Brazilian index of diabetics surges to 17% of the population. Compare this to the number of American with diabetes: 6%.


When it comes to cholesterol, the study shows that 21.6% of the population, that is, one in every five Brazilians, have high levels, above 200 mg/dl. The worst results are found in low-income groups, in which 27.5% have high cholesterol levels.


The index drops to 17.2% among members of the middle class. (In the US, the presence of high cholesterol is comparable to Brazil, with 20% of the population being affected by the condition.)


Schooling also affects the results. According to the study, among those who failed to complete primary school, 39.8% have high cholesterol levels, whereas, among those who completed high school, the figure falls to 17.6%, less than half.


Abdominal obesity was another risk factor identified by the Hearts of Brazil study. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), excessive abdominal fat, which can be calculated with a measuring tape, is considered present in women, when the measurement exceeds 80 cms. In men, the measurement should not exceed 94 cm.


The data in the study demonstrate that, in the sample of 1,239 people aged 18 or more, only 30% of the women and 55% of the men fit the abdominal obesity parameters recommended by the IDF.


The study took two years to complete. 1,239 people were interviewed in 77 Brazilian cities. The study will be presented at the 60th Brazilian Congress of Cardiology, September 17-21, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.


Agência Brasil

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