A healthy heart: Include cardiac disease prevention in national policy, say experts

Experts describe it as deadlier than cancer

Our Correspondent October 12, 2015
KP Senior minister for Health Shahram Tarkai addressing a function held in connection of World Heart Day. PHOTO: INP

PESHAWAR: To help people protect themselves from cardiac disease, health experts at a session suggested preventive measures be included on the national policy’s agenda.

“Cardiac diseases have increased 103% in men and 90% in women,” said Lady Reading Hospital Cardiology Head Dr Adnan Mehmood Gul.

“Their lifestyle needs to be changed and exercise, along with a balanced diet, must be made part of routines to avoid cardiac arrest,” he stated at a hotel on Monday. “World Health Organization says majority of heart patients belong to South Asian countries and people in our region are affected by heart diseases at least 10 to 15 years earlier than other parts of the world.”

Health experts said hypertension and diabetes could lead to cardiac arrest. They quoted data claiming that over a billion people across the globe are overweight. The count includes 18 million children less than five years of age. Also, 60% of the world’s population does not work out as part of their routine. They said 150 million people are diabetic and the count is likely to double by 2025. “Poverty also causes cardiac diseases,” said one of the experts.

To highlight the fatal outcome of heart diseases, Pakistan Cardiology Society Coordinator Dr Ambar Ashraf said, “It is a general perception that breast cancer kills women. However, 0.4 million women die annually of heart diseases whereas 40,000 die due to breast cancer.”

She added heart patients feel chest pain, but 50 out of 100 women do not. It is also likely that blood pressure and diabetes patients do not feel the pain at all.

When asked about the failure to introduce and implement certain laws, Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai said the relevant authorities must take notice of issues such as smoking in public which could harm others.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.


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