The ratio of non-communicable to communicable diseases is increasing in Pakistan due to bad lifestyles. This was stated by Abdul Sattar Chaudhry, Healthy Lifestyle Expert and former Consultant World Health Organisation in a workshop here on Thursday.
Chaudhry said currently 54 per cent of deaths are being caused in the country due to non-communicable diseases. This includes heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, mental health problems, blood pressure and malnutrition. The remaining 46 per cent deaths are caused by communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, among others. He feared the figures would skew towards non-communicable diseases even more in the coming years if people do not change their lifestyles.
“Major reasons behind increase of these non-communicable diseases are sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high calorie diet, stress and alcohol to name a few,” he said. Chaudhry added the deaths caused due to non-communicable diseases are less common in rural areas.
“In rural areas people take healthy diet like asli ghee, pure milk, butter and use machines for their work. On the other hand, in urban areas people eat fast food and the trend is increasing day by day,” he said.
He said according to The National Heart Foundation of Pakistan, Heartfile, one in three people over the age of 45 years suffers from high blood pressure in the country, which has the highest rates of heart disease anywhere in the world.
He said people should brisk walk for at least 20 minutes every day. Regular walk can increase the levels of good cholesterol, he added. It makes the heart pump more efficiently and improves blood circulation, thus making blood vessels more elastic and increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues.
“Walking is one easy way to deal with tension, anxiety and stress as studies show that people who exercise regularly can cope better with the stresses of life,” said Chaudhry.
He said reporting on health issues is not an easy task and journalists writing/broadcasting on health should be careful with their content. However he appreciated media in educating parents about The Expanded Programme on Immunisation in the country as in 1982 only 10 per cent parents were aware about its importance, which has now increased to 90 per cent.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.