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Comparative Study
. Jul-Aug 2004;15(4):161-5.

Differences in Cardiovascular Function of Rural and Urban African Males: The THUSA Study

  • PMID: 15322571
Comparative Study

Differences in Cardiovascular Function of Rural and Urban African Males: The THUSA Study

Rudolph Schutte et al. Cardiovasc J S Afr. .


Introduction: South Africa's black population has been in a process of transition from rural monocultural environments to industrialised urban environments since the early 1990s. This transition has led to an increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, which in this group commonly leads to stroke. Besides the already observed increases in blood pressure, there is still uncertainty as to how the factors associated with urbanisation influence the cardiovascular system as a whole.

Aim: To obtain a more complete cardiovascular profile and its association with the lipid profile and subcutaneous fat distribution of the African in transition.

Methods: A cross-sectional epidemiological study was performed which included 433 men from the North-West Province. The Finapres apparatus and Modelflow software program were used to obtain a more elaborate cardiovascular profile. The lipid profile and subcutaneous fat were also determined.

Results: An increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was observed in the urban group. The heart rate (HR) did not differ while the stroke volume (SV) and cardiac output (CO) was lower in the urban group. Arterial compliance (Cw) also showed a decrease in the urban group along with an increased total peripheral resistance (TPR), compared with the rural group. The lipid profile and BMI did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: The factors associated with urbanization elevate blood pressure via a peripheral mechanism. This peripheral mechanism may be due to endothelial damage associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and a truncal subcutaneous fat distribution.

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