Abu Dhabi, UAE: Cases of heart failure across the world are underestimated by five to ten times and cardiovascular diseases can be as serious as cancer if not treated appropriately, a senior expert in the capital said.
Patients in the GCC, including the UAE, suffer from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) at an earlier age — late 40s and 50s — in comparison with those in Europe and the USA where such cardiac episodes occur between the ages of 60 and 74.
Speaking on the sidelines of the first International Heart Failure Conference, Dr Samer Ellahham, Chief Quality Officer and Senior Cardiovascular Consultant at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News: “Heart failure affects around two to four per cent of any given population globally but this figure is believed to actually be five to ten times higher.”
With heart failure being one of the main diseases caused by tobacco use, the risk of death from coronary diseases is 70 per cent greater in smokers and 200 per cent higher in heavy smokers,
“The smoking rates among men in the Arab region are among the highest in the world, with an estimated prevalence of up to 77 per cent, a 2011 World Health Organisation statistic says,” Dr Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, Consultant Cardiologist, Head of Preventative Cardiology and Rehabilitation at SKMC, said.
“However, instead of blaming smokers and pointing our fingers at them, we should speak to them as patients and as victims of addiction because otherwise you would increase the pressure on them and make them go outside and smoke a cigarette to deal with the stress,” he added.
Around 50 per cent of smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness, the expert said. However, many are well aware of the risks but due to the addictive power of smoking, continue their habit. “Every week or two, our smoking cessation clinic received patients between 10-15 years old,” Dr Al Kaddour said.
“In fact, smokers and/or obese individuals are already suffering from a type of heart failure without even knowing it,” he added.
© Gulf NewsNov 2015