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Dean Jones Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Dr Naeem Tareen, one of the top medical experts in the field of cardiology in the UAE, has suggested that Australia cricket legend Dean Jones could have avoided an early death had he stuck to some basic lifestyle patterns.

Dr Naeem, who is an American Board Certified Cardiologist and fellow American College of Cardiology and Chief of American Heart Centre at the Dubai Healthcare City, had been delivering quality health care in the USA for nearly four decades, before arriving in the UAE a few years back.

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The Dubai doctor last met the former Australia cricketer during the course of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in the UAE last year. “I met Dean Jones at a function and I remember cautioning him about being on the heavier side. I mentioned it to him and he promised that he would eventually start paying attention to it,” Dr Naeem told Gulf News.

“In my opinion, this was a preventable death if he had had a cardiac clearance before jogging and exercising.

“My first suggestion to sportspersons who have not been active for quite some time is that they carry out necessary and much-required regular examination to gauge the state of their heart. A simple stress echocardiogram (ECG) and a treadmill stress test is all that is needed much before one decides to go ahead with physical activity like jogging for instance.

Dr Naeem Tareen

Dr Naeem Tareen

“Sincerely, I don’t recommend jogging for such athletes and sportspersons who have been away from their sport over a considerable period of time. They’ve got to consider a very important aspect of their lifestyle — they have been static at best after stopping their playing careers, and to get going again at a later age would need at least a proper health check and advice from a doctor.”

Dean Jones is not the first athlete who has died due to arrhythmic heart-related ailments. Former Pakistani greats such as Abdul Qadir and Wasim Raja also passed away under similar circumstances.

“His [Dean Jones] lifestyle contributed to his death. Staying in hotels for extended periods of time with diet that is so cholesterol heavy also plays a huge role. It is not an easy life being on the move either as a sportsperson or as a television pundit,” Dr Naeem said.

“Perhaps, there will be more people going to die from cardiovascular diseases than COVID-19.

“No doubt, COVID-19 is dangerous and deadly and people should take necessary precautions. But, at the same time staying indoors for an extended period of time with very little exercise will contribute to higher incidents of cardiovascular diseases.

“As a medical person it becomes imperative that we educate, as up to 75 per cent of people may be unaware of a lurking heart condition. Sportspersons are active throughout their life and then suddenly they slow down and there’s a change in lifestyle. And when they feel they want to restart some sort of exercise, that’s the time to approach a cardiologist and get the basics sorted out.”