Cardiovascular disease caused 17.50 million deaths out of 56 million globally in 2012.
As a result of this it gained the dubious reputation of being world’s leading cause of death.
Although alarming statistics like this portray the gravity of the situation, we seldom take any action. We believe that it would not happen to us; and so did the people who very affected by cardiovascular disease.
This blog post is an endeavor to highlight the risks UAE residents are facing due to cardiovascular diseases and encourage prompt action to prevent it.
The following charts show The 10 leading causes of death by country income group in 2012;
From the above chart, it is quite evident, that we the residents of UAE, an upper middle income country are extremely prone to cardiovascular diseases. Thanks to the rich food we eat and the sedentary lifestyle we lead.
What is cardiovascular disease?
The World Heart Federation defines Cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a broad term for a range of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first warning of an underlying disease.
What causes cardiovascular disease?
Dr Mohammed Al Raqabani, a cardiologist at Rashid Hospital states that the global average age of first heart attack is 65, but in UAE the average first hear attack age is 45, highlighting the magnitude of the predicament we are facing.
850 heart attack patients were admitted to Rashid hospital in 2013. These 850 heart attack patients were much younger than patients elsewhere in the world.
Out of those 850 patients, 40% were diabetic, 40% were hypertensive , while 25 per cent had high levels of bad cholesterol.
In UAE, Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attacks, because more than 20 per cent of UAE’s population is diabetic. Similarly, the percentage of people with obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol is also very high in UAE.
Tobacco consumption is another significant cause for cardiovascular diseases in UAE, evidenced by the fact that more than 50% of the heart attack patients admitted in Rashid Hospital in 2013 were smokers.
The high risk of heart disease in the region can also be attributed to a poor diet and the high consumption of fat and carbohydrates, says Dr Al Raqabani.
Some of the other factors causing CVD are
- Being physically inactive
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of heart disease
- Ethnic background
- Sex – men are more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women.
- Age – the older you are, the more likely you are to develop CVD.
How to prevent Cardiovascular Disease?
Quit Smoking : One of the most efective ways to reduce your risk of Cardiovascular Disease is to avoid tobacco consumption. Don’t ever start smoking. If you already smoke, quit. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you.
According to NIH(National Institutes of Health) Quitting smoking will benefit your heart and blood vessels. For example:
- Heart disease risk associated with smoking begins to decrease soon after you quit. It continues to decrease over time. Your risk is cut in half, 1 year after quitting. If you have not developed heart disease within 15 years of quitting, your risk is nearly the same as the risk in someone who has never smoked.
- Deaths from heart disease are reduced by one-third in people who quit smoking compared with people who continue smoking. Repeat heart attacks are reduced by about the same amount.
- People who smoke and already have heart disease lower their risk of sudden cardiac death, second heart attacks, and death from other chronic diseases by as much as half if they quit smoking.
- Your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots declines over time after you quit smoking.
Dr Al Raqabani says “Exercise is vital for prevention of coronary heart disease, This applies to healthy as well as unhealthy individuals.”
“Exercise is both a primary and secondary form of prevention. This means that exercise is important for healthy individuals as well as those who have had a heart attack.
“It helps to control a host of lifestyle diseases including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure – all of which are factors that can lead to heart diseases.”
He recommends a bare minimum of 30 minutes of brisk walking, five times a week for prevention of Cardiovascular disease.
Leading Mobile phone brands like Iphone, Samsung and multiple sports wear companies are promoting the importance of regular exercise through mobile phone applications, which can calculate and track the amount of calories we have spent during a workout session or during the day.
Using these applications is a fun way of challenging ourselves and our friends on the social network, which can not only improve our health, but also our social status.
We tend to relate a Healthy diet to bland and tasteless food, strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving ourselves of the foods we love.
But the fact is that Healthy diet is more about eating the right kind of food at the right time, and in adequate quantity. In all essence, it means eating a wholesome meal, only as much as your body needs. After a meal one should feel satisfied, but not stuffed.
The Healthy Eating Plate provides detailed guidance, in a simple format, to help people make the best eating choices.
Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please visit The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, www.health.harvard.edu
In this fast paced life we often go through stress at work and at home. Our blood pressure tends to go up, when we are are stressed. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke, hence effective stress management is key to healthy living.
Maintaining a work / life balance can help us manage stress to a certain extent. Managing expectations of people, can also lead to lesser stress both for us and for the people around us.
Adequate sleep and relaxation are key to a stress free life.
Yoga, Meditation, laughter therapy, social work and clubbing can also help in eliminating stress from our lives.
Regular Exercise, No Smoking, lesser stress and a healthy diet can help us reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by large.
In addition to the above it is also important to avail adequate life and Critical illness insurance. It can protect you and your family from loss of income due to critical illness.