The country of Latvia in Eastern Europe borders the Baltic Sea and Russia. The population of Latvia is just fewer than two million people, which is very small relative to most countries around the world. The life expectancy in Latvia is 74 years, which is above the global average of 71 years. The annual mortality rate is 754 per 100,000. Though it is small, the top diseases in Latvia mirror global trends.

When traveling to Latvia, it is recommended by the CDC to have all routine vaccinations up to date, as well as hepatitis A. There is the possibility of contaminated food and water in Latvia.

The top two diseases in Latvia are both cardiac-related, much like most of the world. The heart diseases are the only two on the list of the top diseases in Latvia that have stayed in their spot for the last 20 years. The numbers have been decreasing for both ischemic heart disease and stroke. In third place, cardiomyopathy is also heart-related and has been rising since last counted when it was in the ninth position.

An interesting development in Latvia over the last 20 years has been the rise of HIV/AIDS. It was not near the top in 1990 in position 83, but it has jumped to the sixth since then. This has encouraged a discussion of prevention and education efforts. Educating the public on the dangers and how to be safe can prevent cases and resulting fatalities.

The risk factors of many of the top diseases in Latvia include dietary choices, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol use and physical inactivity.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr