UAE | General

Young people suffering heart attacks

A growing number of emergency cases brought in with heart attacks are in their 20s and 30s

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff reporter
  • Published: 22:30 September 15, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rahman/Gulf News
  • Zulekha Hospital recently conducted a free health camp at Gulf News which saw hundreds of employees receiving almost instant reports on their health situation.

DUBAI:Young people are suffering heart attacks at an “alarming and unusual” pace that could develop into a national health problem, a leading specialist has warned.

Dr Fekry El Deeb, consultant interventional cardiologist at Zulekha Hospitals, said a growing number of emergency cases brought in with heart attacks are in their 20s and 30s.

Cardiovascular disease is normally associated with older people in their 60s and 70s, he added.

“There’s no month where we don’t have a case or two or three people aged 25-35 suffering a heart attack. This is a very alarming and unusual phenomenon that’s getting bigger,” Dr El Deeb said on the sidelines of Zulekha’s health camp at the Gulf News head office in Dubai on Thursday.

“We don’t have exact numbers on this for the UAE, but in our experience and that of others we talk to, this seems to be happening more.”

He added that youngsters have “no awareness of the risk factors” like smoking, junk food and lack of exercise.

“Young people think nothing bad can happen to them – it does and the numbers are rising. It’s very serious, we’re expecting this to increase in the coming five to 10 years,” he said.

“Lots of patients are coming in with chest pain related to heart disease – and these are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones come in with a heart attack and then you only have one hour or less to abort it.”

Forty per cent of UAE residents aged 15-25 are overweight or obese, he said, adding “just go to any mall and see how many people are overweight. It’s a big issue here.”

Obesity is a leading risk factor in heart disease, added Nafeesa Ahmad, director of nutrition and lifestyle management at Zulekha.

“It’s about the ‘convenient food’ culture. It’s quick, cheap – and full of harmful additives and preservatives to give it a long shelf life. Food is perishable, it’s not meant to be ‘fresh’ that long,” Nafeesa said.

“And young people are especially attracted to junk food; a lot of the ads are targeting them. There’s a knowledge deficiency about food, people are too busy to eat right.

“It’s a lifestyle issue, and that’s why we call it a lifestyle disease. People think ‘it’s ok because we’re young’. We need to raise awareness and that’s also why we’re here (at Gulf News) today.”

The free health camp saw hundreds of Gulf News staffers receive almost instant reports on their blood-sugar, cholesterol and BMI (Body Mass Index) levels.

Zulekha conducts similar tests on their own team to monitor their health as well, said the hospital’s operations director, Dr Kishan Pakkal.

“People don’t go for preventive tests.

“Even in hospital staff you will find high sugar or cholesterol. You won’t know if you don’t check. It’s important to raise awareness and that’s part of what we’re doing here today,” Dr Pakkal said.

Comments (7)

  1. Added 18:00 September 16, 2012

    please let it be mandatory for retail staff , logistics and hoteliers to have 2 days off like the rest of the offices and 8 working hours instead of 9, it is extremely tring to work 10hrs with one day off considering the long transoport back home..pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease :-(

    Maliha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:07 September 16, 2012

    It is the ignorance of people not understanding, and not being educated, into a healthy lifestyle. This ignorance is plain to see. Living stress free is a great benefit of exercise, as exercise reduces stress and releases endorphines (make you feel good). If you 'just relax' whilst eating junk food and smoking, I assure you that you will be medically more likely to suffer from problems such as obesity and heart disease. Please always seek advice from professionals.

    Justin, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:15 September 16, 2012

    Any job (stressful or otherwise) lasts for only 8-12 hours. 12-16 hours are still left in a day to do some exercise. That is no excuse. From my experience I can tell you: do not miss breakfast, eat on time every time, sleep on time every day at night for at least 6 hours. stop having your breakfast at night (I mean heavy food), have dinner at least 2 hours before your sleep, 20 minutes exercise every day morning or evening; Insa Allah, you will do just fine. There are many exercises you can do at home in a small space. Eg, star jumps (the best cardio IMO), high knees, push ups, situps, etc. Please do not wait to do exercise until it becomes a matter of life and death. Everybody dies, but, living healthy till that point is very important.

    Shereef, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:08 September 16, 2012

    In case people have not bothered to notice the research. Heart disease can kill in two weeks after a serious tension creating situation. Even those who eat healthy and are physically well can get heart issues very fast. It is related to tension and trauma. Cancer is linked to trauma. Most of the people are trying to blame it on obeisty and other such stuff when you can not see any correlation. You shall find many obese people surviving well beyond 60 without exercise just becase they are not tense. If obeisty and smoking were the case, we should not be seeing very obese people who never exercise in their life smoking shisha lounging around after their 60s. However open your eyes, they are around you and alive because they are relaxing. Not tense = healthy. Trying to avoid food and thinking of taking time out to exercise causes more tension and leads to a heart attack. Relax people. The doctors do not have a cure for aliments like a partially dead heart after a hear attack, diabetes, or cancer. However you can fix these (yes fix) if you relax and eat healthy foods which grow your things back like vegetables and fruits and nuts. Eat the other stuff too (fresh and cooked) without chemicals. Regards, Khawar

    Khawar Nehal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 10:37 September 16, 2012

    Eat less and be healthy.

    Arif Khan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:58 September 16, 2012

    A nice article that shows how much damage we have already done to ourselves!

    Naresh Sharma, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 09:31 September 16, 2012

    What about stressful jobs that are highly demanding in nature and have little freedom to even get up do some exercise?

    Smitha, dubai, United Arab Emirates

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