The Great Cardiovascular Epidemic


During the twentieth century there has been a remarkable rise in the frequency of hypertension, which increased from less than 5 percent of the adult population in 1900 to around 35 percent today.  Likewise, diabetes rose from about 2 cases per 100,000 people to about 1 in 8 individuals, while obesity increased from one in 30 individuals to 40 percent of the adult population.  Chronic kidney disease has also quadrupled over the decades.  These four horses—hypertension, diabetes, obesity and chronic kidney disease—have a large role in driving heart disease.  But what is not well understood is the role of sugar, honey and high fructose corn syrup, shown here as the fairies, that accelerate this epidemic, and for the role of the old man gout who is at the helm driving the chariot through the dark forest.

Artwork by Jay Tomlinson (Tomolini