Hospitals across the UAE are conducting free screenings as the UAE marks World Heart Day on September 29

Abu Dhabi Major hospitals across Abu Dhabi are conducting free screening and awareness campaigns on prevention and control of heart disease as the UAE marks World Heart Day on September 29.

“Despite widespread awareness and access to diagnostic tests, most young adults suffer from high blood pressure and cholesterol which are high risk factors,” said Dr Georgey Koshy, head of cardiology at Universal Hospital.

“We educate people about overall cardiac fitness, especially among the young and susceptible population.”

In medical terms, men between the ages of 30 and 40 and women 35 to 40 years of age are referred to as young adults.

Dr Dinesh Babu, consultant cardiologist at Medeor 24x7 said that heart disease is a silent killer and while there may be no signs or symptoms initially, it is imperative to get oneself checked regularly for prominent risk factors. It is also vital to quit smoking as it is one of the major causes of heart disease and other health complications.

Risk factors

Dr. Wissam Al Sahli, consultant interventional cardiologist at NMC Royal Hospital, attributed the alarming increase in heart disease in this part of the world to sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. “The UAE has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes per capita in the world,” he said. “Family history is also a recognised risk factor.”

“Almost 50 per cent of my patients who suffered from early attacks had neglected early screening. My youngest patient so far is an 18-year-old male, who suffered from Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome which is mainly caused by a stressful lifestyle,” said Dr. Mohammad Rahi Al Hasnawi, specialist of Cardiology at Medeor. Dr Dinesh pointed out that two decades ago, clogged arteries and cardiovascular diseases were only associated with elderly patients. “Now young adults are becoming increasingly lazy compared to their western counterparts,” he said. “Tobacco alone doubles the chances of a heart attack. Nowadays they start smoking early and are more prone to inactivity, while also depending on outside food or takeaways.”

Heart control

Various hospitals have organised campaigns on the occasion of World Heart Day.

Universal Hospital conducted a month-long campaign called ‘Know your numbers’ which will culminate on World Heart Day. Medeor has been offering free cardiac screenings since August 4 and will continue till September 30. New Medical Center (NMC) will conduct free screenings tomorrow in all their hospitals nationwide.

Doctors agreed that heart patients and other people in general need to modify their lifestyle to bring down the high incidence of heart disease. This should include a well-planned exercise regimen according to the physique and a consistent balanced diet.

“Since motivation is very difficult in this matter, patients might need the help of a dietician or even a trainer,” said Dr Koshy.