Bordering the Baltic Sea in Eastern Europe, resting just between Lithuania and Estonia, lies the Republic of Latvia, a nation only slightly larger than West Virginia. Having only gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvia’s public health has struggled to remain of high quality. Here are some common diseases in Latvia:
- Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, refers to problems in which the arteries become restricted, thus reducing oxygen and blood flow to the heart. Such conditions can lead to a heart attack. In Latvia, ischemic heart disease was the most common cause of death in 2015, and had been for the previous decade. Since 2005, however, the disease had fortunately decreased in prevalence by 6.7 percent.
- Cerebrovascular Disease
Cerebrovascular disease refers to all disorders in which blood flow to the brain is affected, both permanently or temporarily. The disease can include carotid stenosis, intracranial stenosis and vertebral stenosis, stroke, vascular malformations and aneurysms. In Latvia, cerebrovascular disease was the second most common cause of death in 2015, and had been for the previous 10 years. However, since the previous decade, instances of the disease had gone down by 18.9 percent.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
In 2015, prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease was recorded to be the third-most common cause of death, a bump up from being the fourth-most common cause of death it had been a decade prior. In fact, prevalence of death by Alzheimer’s disease had increased a whopping 35.5 percent since 2005. A progressive form of dementia, Alzheimer’s has no known cure, only treatment. Still, with proper care, patients can live for up to 20 years after their symptoms become noticeable.
As Alzheimer’s is the only major disease in Latvia that has actually been growing more common, the country ought to adopt an action plan which can address the disease through clear public health standards. Through such standards, the most common diseases in Latvia will surely become less common.
– Shannon Golden