Progression of cardiovascular risk factors in black Africans: 3 year follow up of the SABPA cohort study

Recent work identified a high prevalence of modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) among urban black South Africans. The aim was to track the progression of CVD risk factors in a multiethnic sample of South Africans. Participants were 173 black (aged 47.5 ± 7.8 yrs) and 186 white teachers (aged 49.6 ± 9.9 yrs) that were examined at baseline and 3 years follow-up. Blacks demonstrated a substantially higher prevalence of composite CVD burden (defined as history of physician diagnosed heart disease, use of anti-hypertensives, anti-diabetic, or statin medications at either time point) compared to whites (49.1 vs. 32.0%, p ¼ 0.012) respectively. After controlling for baseline, the black participants demonstrated greater increases in 24 h systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, fasting glucose, fibrinogen, D-dimer, and waist circumference in comparison with whites. In summary, an adverse progression of CVD risk factors was observed in the whole sample, although to a larger degree in black participants. Aggressive treatment strategies for controlling risk factors in black Africans are needed to reduce the increasing burden of CVD in South Africa.