A public health seminar recorded on February 22, 2010.
30 years ago, levels of high blood pressure and heart disease were minimal in China, people were not dying of strokes and heart attacks at nearly the same rate as people in the West. However, under China's rapid urbanization, levels of high blood pressure and heart disease have quickly risen to dangerous levels, with hypertension, strokes, and cardiovascular disease now being the leading cause of death in China. While China develops its modern economy around urban centers, it is easy to forget that health problems are not unique to those areas and exist in rural regions as well. Many of the linked causes for hypertension and cardiovascular disease, such as smoking and a high sodium diet, are just as common in rural areas as they are in urban ones. However, while throughout the course of ChinaCal's work we find levels of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in rural areas that is approximate to that in urban ones, because the Chinese public health system is focused on cities, the problem has remained largely undocumented throughout the countryside. ChinaCal works to document this growing epidemic by bringing international teams of researchers to conduct high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease surveys around rural areas of Yunnan, which is also the most demographically diverse province in all of China.