Prevention need of the hour, say heart experts
Dubai, March 10, 2010
Local medical experts have called for focusing on the prevention rather than treatment of cardiovascular diseases which has contributed to 24 per cent of all deaths in the emirate in 2008.
According to the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD), the disease has attained alarming proportions in the UAE and has become the No.1 killer disease in the country.
They have called for more intensive heart-related campaigns to raise awareness and adopt preventive steps, including medication, as nearly 40 per cent of the residents are believed to be unaware of their heart ailments.
The call comes at a time when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval to a new indication for Rosuvastatin, a lipid lowering drug that belongs to a class known as statins that reduce cholesterol in blood.
The new indication for Rosuvastatin is to reduce risk of stroke, heart attack and revascularization procedures in individuals without evident heart disease but with increased risk of cardiovascular disease based on certain indicators. Previously such patients were not eligible for such treatment, say experts.
Dr Abdullah Shehab, director of CME, Emirates Society of Cardiology said that just around 10 per cent of UAE residents were aware of heart issues and followed a healthy lifestyle.
'About 50 per cent are aware of their heart condition but fail to make any lifestyle changes, while 40 per cent are ignorant of their condition and therefore don’t not take any remedial measures,' he poined out.
Dr Shehab was speaking at a press conference to announce the US approval for Rosuvastatin from AstraZeneca, which reduces the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and arterial revascularization procedures in individuals without clinically evident coronary heart disease.
Dr Shehab said that while UAE has seen an improvement in diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and the medical management of cardiovascular disease, still more heart-related campaigns are needed.
”With the approval of this new indication for Rosuvastatin, a new phase of cardiologic prevention has begun. “Usually, we treat patients after we discover they have a cardio disease, but this medicine can tackle the early signs of the diseases,” he noted.
Dr Fadel Shaker, Medical manager of AstraZeneca Gulf, said, “Not only is this approval a significant milestone for AstraZeneca, but it is also important for the patients who could now benefit from a new phase of therapy under this approved indication.”
Dr Azan Binbrek of Cardiology Department, Rashid Hospital in Dubai said: 'We should play an active role in the community by promoting health awareness about diseases and their prevention, such as cardiovascular diseases. We primarily ask our patients to lose weight, do regular exercise and stop smoking.'
According to Dr Binbrek, the UAE had a very high rate of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure due to the huge lifestyle changes.
'The UAE still has a long way to go in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases because this is multi disciplinary where it is the joint responsibility of the government and media and schools have a role to play in planting healthy lifestyle for the kids and keep junk food out of their reach and train them to have exercise as part of their daily lives,' he added.
Dr Shehab pointed out that some doctors themselves had a bad lifestyle, with many of them being obese, heavy smokers, junk food consumers and avoiding exercise.
'The UAE is at high risk for more cardiovascular diseases because risks factors like diabetes, smoking, hypertension, lack of exercise and high cholesterol are highly prevalent.-TradeArabia News Service