Pakistanis at higher risk of developing heart diseases: report

Published: March 6, 2011
Speakers urge for better awareness and strategies for prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Speakers urge for better awareness and strategies for prevention of cardiovascular diseases.


In Pakistan, a person gets a heart attack when his cholesterol level reaches 150 milligrams, whereas for Europeans it is 200 milligrams.

“Hence, Pakistanis need to be more careful of their diet,” said Cardiologist Dr Khawar Abbas of Tabba Heart Institute Karachi, while quoting a study by Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology at a seminar held here on Saturday.

Senior cardiologists from across the country participated in the seminar, which was Organised by the Pakistan Cardiac Society (PCS). They expressed concern over the increasing incidence of heart diseases in the country, particularly among the youth, and attributed it to lack of awareness.

Heart diseases account for around 35 to 40 per cent of the total disease burden in Pakistan, said PCS President Major General Azhar Mehmood Kayani.

Lack of awareness about lifestyles, food habits, body weight, and the importance of exercise and deep sleep is the major reason behind the increase in cardiovascular diseases in the country, he said.

“Sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, consumption of junk food and excessive smoking among the country’s youth is the reason why people are developing heart diseases in their early 40s,” he added.

Quoting statistics from the World Bank report, “Capitalizing on demographic transition: Tackling non-communicable diseases in South Asia”, he said that the average life expectancy in Pakistan is only 66 years.

“It is unfortunate that any celebration or festivity in our country is related to heavy food consumption, with any regard to its harmful effects on health,” said Kayani, the PCS president.

However, the spread of cardiovascular diseases in the country can be controlled through prevention and awareness.

People need to change their diet patterns by consuming more green and fresh vegetables and fruits, “and say no to junk food,” he said. People need to include exercise in their daily routine, sleep early and avoid “useless tensions”.

Dr Kayani added that the cost of treatment of heart diseases in Pakistan is quite high. “It costs around Rs40,000 to 50,000 for diagnosis of the disease alone, while the treatment cost runs into millions,” he said.

Dr Abbas of Tabba Heart Institute Karachi said that currently there is no concept of preventive cardiology departments in public hospitals.

He added health workers are insufficiently trained to deal with non-communicable diseases, like heart attacks. “There is a dire need to run mass scale community awareness programs regarding heart diseases in Pakistan,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Aqib
    Mar 6, 2011 - 2:17PM

    I am sorry to says but the treatement in Pakistan is very expansive & is done mostly in private sactor. A man which is backbone of his family not afford there house-expense can’t afford it. However many private hospital done that treatement for huminity. But it is very small in number. Therefore it is request to government to make more good decision about that.
    2nd thing i want to said is that media also play important roll for it. They told heart causes by news paper. Doctors make more contribution by research & also given to media which is effective way of public.Recommend

  • Faizan
    Mar 6, 2011 - 5:03PM

    Yeah, the media should play an effective role in making the people aware about this disease, and the care and cure of this. So, please for print as well as electronic media may plan something for this cause.Recommend

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