A third of children born in Pakistan would need heart treatment

Published: September 29, 2017
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Doctors suggest increasing physical activity, giving up smoking for healthier hearts. PHOTO: FILE

Doctors suggest increasing physical activity, giving up smoking for healthier hearts. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A third of children born in Pakistan would probably require treatment for heart diseases in their early childhood.

This was stated by doctors at a seminar to mark the World Heart Day at the Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Thursday.

Dr Asad Saleem, the consultant cardiologist and head of the Cardiology Department at SIH said that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are among world’s biggest killers, taking the lives of over 17.5 million people every year. Further, he said that one in every 10 people between the ages of 30-70, die from CVD.

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He added that a healthy heart is vital for living life to the full, regardless of your age or gender. However, major cardiovascular risk factors can be controlled through a series of measures including a healthy diet, being physically active and by not smoking.

The cardiologist also dispelled the myth that heart disease is more prevalent among the affluent. In fact, he said that consequences of CVD among the impoverished are often more devastating.

He added that at least 80 per cent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be avoided if four main risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – are controlled.

SIH Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist Dr Zaheer Ahmad said that congenital heart defects were the most common type of birth defect with one in 100 babies born with a heart defect. In Pakistan, he said that of the approximately 50,000 children born every year, a third would require treatment  – surgical or interventional – during their early childhood.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2017.

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