Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
An interventional cardiologist said awareness campaigns on and ensuring that residents know they would get the necessary support for heart risk factors are still the need of the times.
“It is important for people to know that support is there for them no matter how serious their heart disease becomes,” Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi-Heart & Vascular Institute chairperson Prof. E. Murat told Gulf Today on Tuesday.
His practical suggestions against heart risk factors are getting enough sleep, maintaining good oral health, avoiding all forms of nicotine and second-hand smoke, more physical exercises, and a balanced nutrition.
Murat was interviewed as the multi-specialty hospital in the capital released on Monday a country-wide commissioned Aug. 2019 study to check if there has been an improvement on the awareness level on heart risk factors by Emiratis and expatriates.
The last study was in 2017 which had revealed of “widespread misunderstandings of the causes of heart diseases and how lifestyle can affect a person’s risk.”
The goal is to “develop long-term community health strategies.”
Moreover, Sept. 29 is World Heart Day.
There were 1,002 respondents: 274 in Abu Dhabi, 400 in Dubai, 180 in Sharjah and 148 from the other Northern Emirates. It covered the ages of 18 to over 40 with 346 singles, 640 married with children and without children, 777 employed with salaries below Dhs5,000.00 to over Dhs40,000.00, and also the unemployed.
Among the 1,002, the 359 women at 75 per cent or 270 believe/know they have “at least one risk factor or unhealthy lifestyle that may result in heart disease or stroke.”
It was 68 per cent or 437 of the 643 men.
Of the 359 women, 24 per cent or 86 know they are obese. The same percentage and numbers apply to those who believe/know they are hypertensive, are living stressful lives or majority of the time under stress; while 42 per cent or 151 claimed to “lack exercise.”
Despite continuing advisories and action taken by government authorities, health stakeholders and even individual institutions in at least over a decade, other conclusions of the study which included 158 Emiratis, 551 Asians, 16 Caucasians, and 24 other unspecified nationalities are:
n 71 per cent or 711 of the 1,002 have at least one major factor to heart diseases
n 23 per cent or 230 suffer from high blood pressure
n 15 per cent or 150 are diabetics
n 21 per cent or 210 are obese
n 35 per cent or 351 slack in their physical exercise
n 32 per cent or 321 experience high levels of stress
n 20 per cent or 200 continue to smoke.
Among the age bracket of 30 to 39, 43 per cent or 184 of the 428 do not exercise enough while 36 per cent of 154 admitted to be almost always stressed.
In the 40 and above, 22 per cent or 211 are diabetics and 35 per cent or 74 are hypertensive.
Of the 16 Caucasians, 52 per cent or eight do not get enough exercise. Of the 551 Asians, 22 per cent or 121 are obese, 38 per cent or 209 are stressed, and 29 per cent or 158 are hypertensive.
On the knowledge of what body mass index (BMI) is, “calculated from person’s height and weight to measure obesity, unless the person is a bodybuilder or an athlete with a lot of muscle,” 37 per cent or 38 of the Emiratis, 29 per cent or 158 of the Asians, and 12 per cent or two of the Westerners “do not know that a high BMI increases the risk of heart diseases.”
Murat said more has yet to be done: “There has been a growing awareness. But, we have to do more like our own ‘Know Your Heart Campaign.’
There are centers around the country like our Heart & Vascular Institute. Patient access does not depend upon insurance in these cases.”
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