Dubai: With heart disease continuing to the lead killer in the region, it is important to raise awareness on the issue and better prepare the public on the many aspects of cardiac health, said an expert.
Speaking on the sidelines of SHAKE (Saving Heart Attacks Key Efforts) an awareness programme held for the public on the importance of saving lives from heart attacks, Dr Brajesh Mittal, Medical Director, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Medcare Hospital, Dubai, and Chairman of SHAKE, said, “We are seeing more patients in our clinics for health checks. More awareness, better screening and diagnostic tools are enabling people to reduce the impact of risk factors for heart attacks. But we are still very far from achieving our goal,” said Dr Mittal.
The event was held at the Le Meridien on Saturday.
Dr Azad Moopen, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare, who formally launched the event, said, “With the rising incidence of ischemic heart disease world over, we are constantly hearing about mortality and morbidity caused by this lifestyle epidemic, especially among young adults. It is high time that the medical community takes proactive measures to address this by increasing awareness among vulnerable population. I hope that [SHAKE] will shake up people and make them take note of the monster waiting to strike.”
Heart disease and high blood pressure continue to be on the rise in UAE, according to the results of a 2019 wellness survey. “According to reports, 7 out of 10 Indian expatriates in Abu Dhabi, and 6 out of 10 Indian expatriates in Dubai and the rest of the five emirates have died due to heart attacks in the first half of 2019,” said Dr Mittal. ”Besides higher and earlier incidence of heart diseases in Asian population, work-related and emotional stress, lifestyle changes and unhealthy food habits also contribute significantly in the expats in the UAE,” said Dr Mittal.
The UAE, Dr Mittal said, has all the risk factors for CVD. “Around 20 per cent of Emiratis have diabetes, 80 per cent are overweight and 30 per cent obese. One in three Emiratis have hypertension, that leads to strokes, CVD and kidney disease. 60 per cent of the people in UAE who have CVD are regular smokers. All these conditions are causes of the high rate of heart attacks and CVD among Emiratis in the UAE,” he said.
There are many initiatives in place to bring down the rates of CVD, added Dr Mittal. “The GCC heart registry has all important data on CVD in the UAE which helps us get a clear picture of the challenge we face. We have begun screening people at a younger age 35 for CVD. The government has levied taxes on carbonated and energy drinks, and cigarettes to discourage these habits. Curbing obesity in the early stages is important and the health authorities have introduced health plans in schools, serving healthy and nutritiously balanced food in schools as well as running fitness programmes. These and many other initiatives will help us educate the community, create greater awareness about heart conditions and tackle this issue.”