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‘Cardiac diseases top cause of deaths’


May 17, 2018

LAHORE: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of deaths worldwide. As per estimates of World Health Organisation (WHO), 17.3 million people die of cardiovascular diseases every year and 80 percent of these deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries. It is predicted that over 23 million deaths will occur from CVDs by year 2030.

It is estimated that hypertension affects approximately 40 per cent of adults globally. In Pakistan, 50 per cent of adults are affected. Ischemic heart disease is responsible for 46 per cent of CVD deaths in males and 38 percent in females. Only about 50 per cent of the people with hypertension are diagnosed and only half of those are treated.

The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age. At young ages, the prevalence was higher in males than in females; from age 60, however, the trend was reversed, with prevalence higher in women than in men.

This was expressed by health experts at a press conference held to raise awareness about the burden of hypertension and heart failure and its impact on lives of patients in connection with World Hypertension Day. This was organised by a medicine company in collaboration with Pakistan Cardiac Society (PCS) and Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) here at a local hotel on Wednesday.

Health experts said that hypertension is considered the most important modifiable risk factor for diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and end-stage renal disease. This places a huge importance on early identification & treatment of patients with hypertension by the healthcare professionals. A healthy lifestyle and precautionary approaches to decrease the prevalence of this disease in the Pakistani population is also important, doctors stressed.

Prof Muhammad Naeem Aslam said that heart failure (HF) is the abnormality of cardiac structure or function leading to failure of the heart to adequately supply blood to organ systems. It is a chronic condition, which is combined with acute episodes.

Approximately 1-2 percent of adult population suffers heart failure. The mortality rate for patients with chronic HF is as high as 50 per cent at five-year post-diagnosis. Across the globe, 1-4 per cent of all hospital admissions attribute heart failure as the primary diagnosis and average length of hospitalisation is 5-10 days, he added.

Prof Zubiar Akram said that the patients with heart failure not only have to cope with the disease but also the negative effects on their quality of life like anxiety, limitation in daily living activities, and disruption in their work roles and reduced social interaction. This disease also places significant burden on the career and attendants, he observed.

Prof Saulat Siddique said that echocardiography is the most widely used diagnostic test to confirm heart failure diagnosis, if performed by an expert. The patients most often present with difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath when lying flat, fatigue and tiredness, he highlighted.

The management of heart failure includes dietary sodium & fluid restriction, appropriate physical activity and medicines as advised by the treating physician, he emphasised. Prof Saqib Shafi Sheikh said the main objectives of heart failure treatment are improvement in symptoms, improvement in quality of life and to prevent hospitalisation and reduce mortality. In patients where there is noncompliance to diet or medication, the heart failure may recur. It is important that these patients are counseled and educated about importance of proper diet and medication, he added.

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