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September 30, 2017

‘Lax health regulations have endangered lives of Pakistanis’


September 30, 2017

Islamabad :Lax and ineffective health regulations and limited or no corporate accountability have placed a large number of people in Pakistan on higher risk of coronary heart disease. At least 12 Pakistanis die every hour due to heart attack while more than one-third (34 percent) of all deaths in Pakistan are caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), making it the leading non-communicable disease in the country.

The above statement has been released by TheNetwork for Consumer Protection during a commemoration of World Heart Day. The Pakistani population has one of the highest risks of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the world. In Pakistan, 30 to 40 percent of all deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The CHD deaths in Pakistan have reached about 200,000 per year that is 410/100,000 of the population.

The major risk factors are tobacco use, alcohol use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, stress and unhealthy diet.

“Roughly one out of five deaths from heart disease is directly linked to smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes raises your blood pressure and shoots your heart rate. It is crucial to ban smoking in your home to protect your families’ future. Educate children on the dangers of tobacco use, to help them to choose not to smoke themselves. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve heart health,” stated Nadeem Iqbal, CEO of TheNetwork for Consumer Protection.

“If you start smoking at an early age, your risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher than someone who starts as an adult. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is also dangerous. The risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately after a person stops using tobacco products, and can drop by as much as half after 1 year. As a policy suggestion, Pakistan needs to develop and adopt a national NCD policy,” said Nadeem.

Children are vulnerable too; the risk for CVDs can begin before birth during fatal development, and increase further during childhood with exposure to unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and smoking.

Low birth weight – common among poor families in Pakistan – is an important risk factor for NCDs in adults. Multiple risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and glucose frequently occur in the same person. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies.

According to British Heart Foundation, smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as compared to people who have never smoked. Stopping smoking has huge benefits and it’s never too late to give up.

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