Non-communicable diseases place a huge financial burden on health care systems in Africa. There is a lack of prospective findings and sufficient knowledge pertaining to the mechanisms involved in the development of these diseases constraining preventive health care programs. Due to many factors like urbanization, poverty, terrorism and political upheaval, African people are subjected to high levels of emotional stress. The role of emotional stress in the escalation of non-communicable diseases is however hotly debated. One plausible explanation for this rise could be the defensive way in which people cope with the taxing demands of everyday stress. Indeed, chronic defensiveness may disturb stress-response pathways and potentiate target organ damage (TOD). Prospective findings on the role of emotional distress and disease progression are needed to indicate clinical significance before prevention programs can be implemented.
The main objective is therefore to develop a clinical diagnostic instrument to sufficiently phenotype emotional distress for early detection of TOD. An aggregated score of cardiometabolic risk markers related to TOD will be validated by employing bio-engineer modelling. The ability of the stressed index to confirm TOD will allow application of the diagnostic tool to improve diagnosis. Policy and guidelines can change if the Stressed tool is implemented as an early detector of TOD, which may improve preventive health care in Africa and globally.