A man had a near brush with death after his heart stopped for 16 minutes and was revived by paramedics on the way to hospital in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Richer residents of the UAE are more likely to develop heart diseases because of their bad lifestyle choices, according to a health survey released on the eve of World Heart Day Thursday.

Another survey by a health insurer shows there is a decline in public health and that people are becoming heavier because of their sedentary lives. It also shows that a majority of the people do not consult a doctor but go to the internet for health information.

In the survey of 5,000 people in Dubai, one in four people have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) like hypertension, high cholesterol and are smokers.

Lifestyle change

"We are strongly advocating the need for the community to alter their lifestyle," said Laila Al Jasmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The survey results have sounded alarm bells in the medical community once again, which has been pushing people for a long time to take care of their health.

The warnings apparently has fallen on deaf ears. A senior cardiologist at Dubai Hospital earlier told Gulf News that people are not listening because they think they are young and "nothing can happen to us". But the doctor warned that "We are losing younger people to heart disease."

An earlier study showed that only 19 per cent of Dubai's population gets sufficient exercise which is required to stay healthy. "The lack of exercise coupled with unhealthy lifestyle choices has put a significant percentage of the Emirate's population at a risk of developing cardiovascular disease," said Al Jasmi.

Lack of education

"There is a clear link between lack of education and increase in risk of cardiovascular diseases," said Dr Eldaw Abdullah Sulaiman, head of research in DHA.

The prevalence of risk factors among the non-educated is nearly twice the level among people with university education, he said in a statement.

Household survey

  • Highest income group more likely to develop heart attack risk factors.
  • 1 in 5 people in UAE die of heart attacks.
  • 1 in 4 smoke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • CVD risk factors are twice in men than women.
  • Risk factors for heart attacks among Emiratis is 1 in every 3.