World: Celebrated annually every year on September 29, World Heart Day, an initiative of the World Heart Federation (WHF), was launched with the collective aim of increasing awareness of cardiovascular diseases, whilst educating those on how to maintain a healthy heart.
To commemorate World Heart Day, Allurion, a pioneer in innovative weight loss solutions, conducted a YouGov survey in eight different countries including the UAE, and found that the UAE has the highest population suffering severe or mild cardiovascular diseases. Celebrated annually every year on 29th September, World Heart Day, an initiative of the World Heart Federation (WHF), was launched with the collective aim of increasing awareness of cardiovascular diseases, whilst educating those on how to maintain a healthy heart.
The survey exploring correlations between obesity and heart disease revealed that 60% of people in the United Arab Emirates’ serious or moderate cases of obesity are also linked to cardiovascular and heart problems. More shocking is that this largely contributes to 40% of deaths in the country. In fact, doctors in the region have warned about a rise of young people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, as half of the heart attack patients are under the age of 50.
Although the heart beats around 2.5 billion times over an average lifetime, this will not always be the case for those living with a BMI of 25 or more, and this is known to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 12% and that of a stroke by 24%. The foundation of a healthy heart is maintaining a recommended weight/BMI for your height and age and an active lifestyle. With this in mind, many of the UAE’s residents need support in achieving successful weight loss to ensure they reduce their risk of heart disease.
Ashish Sarraju, MD, a preventive cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic says, “In healthcare today, we focus on both primordial and primary prevention, so it is never too early to start taking steps to reduce cardiovascular risk. Primordial prevention is an approach to prevent the development of the risk factors that lead to heart disease such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and so on. Primary prevention, on the other hand, involves recognizing and intervening as early as possible to aggressively control any risk factors that a person has already developed.”
Dr. Sarraju advises patients in their 20s or younger to start thinking about the risk factors for heart disease that are modifiable and to take positive steps to address these or to discuss them with their healthcare provider. He cites ‘Life’s Essential 8’, the American Heart Association’s guideline that identifies an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, nicotine exposure, poor sleep health, elevated body weight and high blood lipids (cholesterol), blood glucose and blood pressure as the factors to address.
In addition to these eight risk factors, Dr. Sarraju adds that there are risk-enhancing factors that should also be taken into account, and which enable a personalized approach to CVD prevention. Among these are ethnicity – with South Asians and Middle-Easterners being at a higher risk for CVD – and a family history of premature heart disease, that is, having a first-degree relative diagnosed with heart disease at age 55 or under in the case of male relatives, or at age 65 and under in the case of female relatives. Heart attack patient UAE
Other risk-enhancing factors include having metabolic syndrome; chronic kidney disease; chronic inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis; premature menopause; and having experienced high blood pressure or high blood sugar during pregnancy.
“If a patient has any risk-enhancing factors, it is a good idea to consult a physician to discuss what proactive steps can be taken to mitigate their elevated risk for CVD,” says Dr. Sarraju. Heart attack patient UAE
He adds, “Even if you have no risk factors, it is still a good idea to go and see a primary care doctor at least once for a quick health screen and basic tests such as measuring blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. If there are no issues, then you can reassess the situation at least every four to six years – or sooner as recommended by physicians – if you are aged from 20 to 40, or more frequently if you are aged 40 or older.”