Muscat: According to World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 17.3 million people died of cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs) in 2008, accounting for 30 per cent of all global deaths. It is expected that by 2030, another 23 million people will die of CVDs every year.
September 29 is marked as the World Heart Day and to raise awareness about it, Times of Oman caught up with Dr. Marei Hassan Ali Aysha, a senior consultant cardiologist at Lifeline Hospital, Sohar, to enlighten people on cardiovascular diseases.
"Change in lifestyles, medications and surgical procedures are the existing treatments for heart disease. The best treatment is to prevent heart disease from occurring by knowing the risk factors. Everybody knows that excessive smoking is hazardous to health. But still, people are addicted to smoking which is bad for their heart," says Marei Haasan Ali Aysha.
Highlighting the alarming increase in the rate of heart diseases in Oman, the doctor says that though people now have become more cautious owing to awareness programmes, they still continue to adopt a very casual approach when it comes to their health, especially the heart.
Talking about the risk factors, Dr Hassan believes that for cardiovascular diseases, our unhealthy lifestyles are more to be blamed than the genetic factors.
"It is sad to know that in spite of all the warnings issued, people continue with their unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles. Eating junk food, consuming a lot of red meat and not exercising at all, accounts for the most important causes of cardiovascular diseases," says the doctor.
Individuals with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, a family history of Coronary Heart disease (CHD) and sedentary occupations are considered to be at high risk of developing CHD. According to Dr Hasan, such individuals should be provided with appropriate health education.
They need to be monitored closely for symptoms and signs of CHD and should undergo a routine cardiac evaluation at least once a year, such as Echo, ECG, stress test, and blood tests.
Once every three or four years, they should go for the 64-slice CT Scan.
"People can stay healthy and fit by following some simple rules in life such as being sensible about alcohol intake, avoiding tobacco, exercising for 30 minutes a day, avoiding stressful situations as much as possible and having regular checkups," says the doctor when asked about the measures that can be taken to curb such diseases.
The most common heart attack sign in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort in the centre or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away but returns.
"A maximum number of people, whether Omani or expatriates, come to the hospital complaining about pain in the chest. It can be mild or severe, but in this case, it is always advisable to undergo an examination by a doctor," added Dr Hassan.
He even emphasises that if someone had a heart attack in the past, he should take special care. "After being operated for a heart attack once, the person should not adopt a laid-back attitude and must take special care by having regular check-ups and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which will increase his longevity."
As part of the World Heart Day, the Lifeline hospital is offering Free Cardiac Screening which includes free consultation with Dr Marei Haasan Ali Aysha, ECG, Blood pressure, Height and Weight, Pulse and Cardiac Advise, starting from 29 September to 3 October.
"Do something for your heart and reduce your chances of life threatening stroke and heart disease. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to remain fit and ticking," says Dr Hassan in his message on the World Heart Day.