World Heart Day


Experts say 1 in every 10 aged 30-70 die from Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)

About 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect

ISLAMABAD Sept 29 (TNS): Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer. Taking lives of over 17.5 million people every year. 1 in every 10, aged 30-70, die from CVD over shadowing other diseases by racking up a total of 31% of all deaths due to CVD, said Consultant Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology Department at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Dr. Asad Ali Saleem.

He was addressing a seminar organized to mark World Heart Day. Doctors, medical students, patients and people from all walks of life attended the seminar. Free consultancy, screening and informative booklets were given to the participants.

Dr. Asad said that a healthy heart is vital for living life to the full, regardless of your age or gender. Controlling the major cardiovascular risk factors, by choosing a healthy diet, being physically active and by not smoking can prevent heart attacks and strokes and may help the heart to age more slowly.

Heart disease is the leading cause of loss of myth that it is the disease of the affluent does not hold true. Indeed the prevalence of this problem is ubiquitous and the consequences are frequently more devastating for those who live in the impoverished third world countries of the 17.3 million cardiovascular deaths that take place annually, at least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) could be avoided if four main risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – are controlled.

Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist SIH Dr. Zaheer Ahmad said that congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defects. About 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect. In Pakistan approximately 50,000 children are born every year. One third of them will need treatment (surgical or interventional) in early childhood.

Dr. Zaheer Ahmad said that we do not always understand what causes a heart defect, but, there are some factors that are thought to increase their risk i.e. mostly by chance, certain genetic factors and maternal diseases like diabetes or certain viral infections early in pregnancy.

These are things that every woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant can do to help prevent heart defects and have a healthy pregnancy: 1. Take a multivitamin with folic acid every day. 2. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar in good control. 3. Get vaccinated. 4. Maintain a healthy weight, both before and during pregnancy. 5. Talk to your doctor about medicines that you take.

He discussed the symptoms of heart disease in children i.e., Rapid breathing, Bluish skin, lips, and nails, Fatigue or difficulty feeding, Poor weight gain, Sweating, especially while feeding. He added ‘Atherosclerosis’ increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke.

It is unusual for children or teenagers to have a heart attack or stroke as a result of atherosclerosis. In some children, atherosclerosis worsens rapidly increasing the risk of heart disease. Screening for cholesterol problems is recommended once for children ages 9 to 11 years and again at ages 17 to 21 years, He advised.

Consultant Cardiologist SIH Dr. Saeedullah Shah said that cardiovascular disease is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and heart failure. He stressed on quitting smoking to prevent CVDs and also for early cure of patients with CVDs.

Physical Therapist SIH Ms. Mahwish Anwer shared the Cardiac Fitness Tips. She said that there are two ways to ensure you are exercising safely and assess the intensity of exercise. These are: Your Heart Rate and the Borg Scale (RPE rated perceived exertion scale).  It is important to monitor the heart rate during exercise: Formula: THR: 220-Age (Target heart rate).

She also discussed when not to Exercise includes Body temperature >101 degree F (38.3 degrees C), Newly undiagnosed illness, Pain, Blood Pressure <200/100, Unstable sugar levels. She advised the participants to Stop Exercise when 1. Pain or pressure in chest, neck or jaw2. Excessive fatigue, not related to lack of sleep 3. Unusual shortness of breath 4. Dizziness or light headedness during or after exercise 5. Persistent rapid or irregular heart rate during or after exercise.