Monday July 04, 2022

‘Complete ban on sugary drinks, smoking inevitable to save lives’

March 18, 2022

A complete ban on sugar-sweetened beverages and smoking is inevitable to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes, said leading health experts on Thursday, urging the authorities to make sugary drinks and tobacco products unaffordable.

“Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and smoking are leading causes of heart diseases, but in Pakistan sugary drinks and cigarettes are easily available at cheap rates,” said physician Prof Ejaz Vohra while inaugurating the renovated cardiology department at the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). “If we want to prevent early deaths and disability among our youngsters, we would have to ban these products and promote a healthy lifestyle in the country.”

Prof Vohra also inaugurated the cardiovascular rehabilitation & prevention services department, hoping that in addition to treating cardiovascular diseases, rehabilitation services at the CHK would help patients become productive members of society again following angioplasties and cardiac surgeries.

“Without cardiovascular rehabilitation, most patients become a burden on their families and society after cardiac interventions or surgeries. I hope that the newly established department of rehabilitation and prevention of cardiovascular diseases would help patients get back to normal life after treatment of heart attack or cardiac surgery.”

Prof Vohra urged Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab to provide jogging and cycling tracks along the city’s roads, to utilise the space beneath flyovers for table tennis and other games, saying that the city’s people need space for walking, cycling, playing sports and other healthy activities.

Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) General Secretary Prof Muhammad Ishaque lauded the availability of cardiovascular rehabilitation and prevention services at the CHK, saying that without rehabilitation after angioplasty or cardiac surgery, patients cannot live a normal life because these interventions do not stop or slow down the disease process in them.

“If a person doesn’t adopt a healthy lifestyle after angioplasty or cardiac surgery, and continues to smoke or consume unhealthy food, they would soon have another heart attack or stroke. The objective of rehabilitation is to make a person physically healthy, and it’s an essential component of treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”

Prof Ishaque said that long-term quality of life of cardiac patients can’t be improved just with medicines on a daily basis unless they become physically active and healthy, avoid junk food, sugary drinks and smoking, and also remain mentally fit.

CHK cardiology department head Prof Nawaz Lashari thanked the PHL and the pharmaceutical firm PharmEvo for their support in the renovation of the cardiology department, and for the provision of cardiovascular rehabilitation and prevention services at the cardiac ward, saying that they are providing state-of-the-art cardiac treatment facilities.

“But it’s the right time to invest in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases because we can’t afford to treat such a large number of patients with our limited resources. Similarly, without providing rehabilitation services to cardiac patients, there’s no use of angioplasties, cardiac surgeries and other interventions.”

Prof Lashari pointed out that the growing burden of heart patients can be reduced only with the promotion and creating awareness of preventive measures in society.