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Cardiovascular Diseases: Top killer in Mauritius for the past decade

Realistic HEart with Stethoscope

Circulatory system diseases remain the top killer disease in the island of Mauritius over this past decade, accounting for around one third (31.5%) of total deaths in the country for 2019. Around nine Mauritians died per day in 2019 because of circulatory system diseases. The latter caused 3,440 deaths out of a total of 10,911. This top killer is followed by endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (mainly diabetes), accounting for 22,8% of total deaths.

The number of deaths by circulatory system disease in Mauritius amounted to 3,440 in 2019. These involve heart failures, cardiac arrest, pulmonary heart diseases, acute myocardial infarction, and other ischaemic heart diseases among others.

Sustained worrying trends of cardiovascular diseases in Mauritius

Island of MauritiusPercentage of DeathsNumber of deaths
Death by diseases of the circulatory system31.50%3440
Death by endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (mainly diabetes)22.80%2486
Death by neoplasm (cancers)13.20%1441
Death by diseases of the respiratory system12.70%1388
Death by injury and poisoning4.60%507
Total deaths100%10,911
Island of RodriguesNumber of deaths
Death by diseases of the circulatory system93
Death by endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (mainly diabetes)41
Death by neoplasm (cancers)42
Death by diseases of the respiratory system25
Death by injury and poisoning11
Total deaths263

The latest Health Statistics Reports of the Mauritian Ministry of Health and Wellness reveals a sustained trend of circulatory system diseases as the top killer for the past decade. Deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases fluctuated between 31% and 35.2% reaching a high in 2016.

More than half of the 3,440 deaths in 2019 (1,945 deaths), were due to heart diseases. Stroke and other Cerebrovascular diseases accounted for another 910 (26.5%) deaths. 

Nearly a quarter of total deaths (21.5%) occurred in the less than 60 years of the age range. There were 13 cases where it concerned male adults in the age range of 30-44 years. Three deaths by cardiac arrest cases occurred in the 15-29 years old range.

On the island of Rodrigues, the same trend is noticed. Death by diseases of the circulatory system was also the No 1 killer accounting for 35.4% of total deaths followed by endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (mainly diabetes) accounting for 15.60% of total deaths.

8,882 patients were admitted to governmental general hospitals for heart diseases last year, and 3407 patients in Cardiac Centers in Mauritius.

HALE benchmarking

Singapore and Yemen, respectively, have the highest and lowest healthy years in life expectancy for the year 2016 according to the World Health Statistics 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides the Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) which shows the true health of the population compared to life expectancy which indicates how long a population is expected to live on average. Therefore, they show both the length of life and the quality of life.

Mauritius was reported to have 87.9% of healthy years in life expectancy, Singapore (91.8%) with the highest life expectancy in healthy years rate, and Yemen (84.3%) with the lowest life expectancy in healthy years rate.

Mauritius also recorded a HALE of 66 years and a life expectancy of 75 years. Singapore on the other hand recorded a HALE of 76 years and a life expectancy of 83 years and Yemen a HALE of 51 years and a life expectancy of 61 years.

However, according to the Singapore Heart Foundation, 17 people die from cardiovascular disease (heart diseases and stroke) every day in Singapore. 29% of all deaths were cases of cardiovascular disease in 2019. Meaning that almost 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore is due to heart diseases or stroke. It shows that despite having the healthiest population according to the WHO, Singapore still has a high rate of death by cardiovascular diseases. 

In Yemen, the leading cause of death for the said year is ischaemic heart disease also called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease. With a 44% change compared to 2009, ischemic heart disease dethroned neonatal disorders and became the leading cause of death. Strokes are also placed as the third cause of death with a 35.4% change compared to the same year. 

About Cardiovascular diseases

According to Healthline cardiovascular diseases involve the heart and usually refer to complications due to narrowed or blocked blood arteries that may lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke. Other cardiac conditions, such as those that affect the muscles, valves, or rhythm of the heart, are often considered types of heart failure. 

The trickiness of heart diseases is that a patient might not be diagnosed until he has a heart attack, which makes it essential to watch for the symptoms and discuss concerns with a doctor.

Symptoms however may differ in men and women. Men are more likely to experience chest pain while women experience chest discomfort, like shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue.

Other symptoms are chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina), numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back.

Although the cardiovascular disease can refer to various problems with your heart or blood vessels, the term is also used to mean atherosclerosis damage to your heart or blood vessels, an accumulation of fatty plaques in your arteries. Plaque build-up thickens and stiffens the artery walls and can hinder the passage of blood into the arteries to your organs and tissues.

Atherosclerosis is also the most frequent cause of cardiovascular disease. It can be caused by conditions that can be fixed, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, and smoking as well. 

Risk Factors

There are various risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and some of them are as follows:

  • Age: As you age the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries increases and the heart muscle weakens or thickens causing complications. Men of age 45 and older and women of age 55 and older have a greater risk.
  • Sex: Women’s risk of heart disease increases after menopause, but men however are at greater risk in general.
  • Family history: If heart disease runs in the family, the risk of coronary artery disease increases especially if a parent developed it at an early age.


Heart disease such as heart defects can’t be prevented. But, many other types of heart disease can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Some of the lifestyle changes that can improve heart diseases are as follows:

  • Quit smoking
  • Control other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
  • Eat a diet that’s low in salt and saturated fat
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce and manage stress
  • Practice good hygiene