Background: The Roma population has a high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, higher mortality, and shorter life expectancy. It is found in largest numbers in Romania, but published data are still scarce here. We studied cardiovascular risk factors and disease along with target organ damage on a population of Roma inhabitants from Bucharest, Romania.
Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled, in a community-based participatory research manner, 806 Roma subjects (18-83 years). Demographics included anthropometric data, a questionnaire on social status, education, medical history, and health deleterious behaviors. Medical evaluation included clinical examination, blood pressure, ankle-brachial index, pulse wave velocity measurements, blood tests (complete blood count, lipid profile, glucose, creatinine, uric acid), dip-stick microalbuminuria, dilated fundoscopy, ECG, and echocardiography.
Results: Prevalence of all cardiovascular risk factors was high, peaking in abnormal lipid metabolism (82.13%), heavy smoking (63.02% including ex-smokers) and obesity (50.99%). The first and the latter were actually similar to the general population in Romania. Almost half of subjects were at high or very high risk for fatal cardiovascular disease.
Conclusions: The study shows that the Roma population in a more affluent region in Romania shares a similarly high cardiovascular burden to their surrounding community.