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Understanding risk factors and preventive measures of cardiovascular disease in refugee communities
  1. Julio Santana1,
  2. Adonias Lemma2,
  3. Mary Helen O'Connor3,
  4. Heval Kelli4
  1. 1Internal Medicine, Jackson Health System, Miami, Florida, USA
  2. 2Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3Georgia State University School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  4. 4Cardiology, Northside Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Heval Kelli, Cardiology, Northside Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA; heval1{at}

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According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 80 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide as of 2020. This number creates numerous challenges, including the management of patients with chronic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the associated complications. Despite recognition of the health disparities and policy mandates by the US government to slowly eliminate these barriers, the refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities continue to experience poor access to preventive healthcare. An analysis of the 2010–2016 US National Health Interview Survey found that RIMs from South America and the Asian and African continents were disproportionately affected by risk factors for CVD, such as hypertension (HTN), diabetes mellitus (DM) and hyperlipidaemia (HLD), compared with their European counterparts. The study found that the highest multivariable adjusted prevalence of diagnosed HTN was 23.5% in Southeast Asian immigrants and for DM the prevalence was measured to be 9.6% among immigrants from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In contrast, the prevalence of HTN was measured to be 22.4% and DM was 6.6% among the European cohort.1 Understanding the unique risk factors in conjunction with addressing the physical, mental and psychological burden of RIMs is imperative in creating comprehensive changes that can be implemented to decrease …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.