Distribution and Incidence

The distribution of dropsy within or among populations parallels the distributions of its underlying causes, such as hypertension, myocardial and coronary artery insufficiency, hypercholesterolemia, valvular disease, streptococcal infection, cirrhosis, and renal glomerular disease. Risk factors for these conditions are still being identified and their clinical implications evaluated. Only for malnutrition are geographic distinctions clear-cut (e.g., in drought-stricken areas of Africa, or countries where diet centers too closely on polished rice).

Historically, a diagnosis of dropsy was based simply on abnormal accumulations of fluid in the legs, abdomen, or chest. The diagnosis was so easy that artists such as Thomas Rowlandson (in his 1810 print "Dropsy Courting Consumption") could portray it in popular prints with the expectation that their customers would recognize it immediately. Consequently, it is not surprising that the reported incidence of dropsy has not changed substantially over the 400 years for which comparable records are available. That is, dropsy has been diagnosed in about 3 to 5 percent of deaths, hospital admissions, or adult patients in London in 1583-1849, and in American villages and cities in 1735-1839. Typical modern incidences of congestive heart failure include 7 percent of patients discharged from a Baltimore hospital medical service in 1969-70, 2.31 percent of outpatients who had prescriptions filled in a San Francisco hospital in 1971, and 3.05 percent of persons over 30 years of age in the

Framingham (Mass.) Heart Study in 1971. In 1985,3 of every 1,000 Americans were reported to develop heart failure annually, producing an overall incidence of about 1 percent of the population, regardless of age; 34 to 58 percent of heart failure patients die each year.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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