x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Doctor warns against avoidable heart attack health hazards

Cardiovascular disease responsible for 28% of deaths Alison McMeans Dubai // A heart doctor said on the eve of World Heart Day yesterday that the largest cause of death in the UAE is avoidable and urged people to get checked out. Cardiovascular disease causes 28 per cent of all deaths in the UAE and kills more women than breast cancer. It is especially dangerous because it shows few symptoms. "Many of the people we see in the hospital have no idea that they have heart disease," said Dr Azan bin Brek, the head of cardiology at Rashid Hospital in Dubai. "People may have a heart attack and think it's indigestion. About five per cent of the patients we see have already had a heart attack."

Even a small heart attack can damage the heart, increasing the likelihood of a second one. "The second one will be much more aggressive and increase the probability of death," Dr Brek said. The four main risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, having diabetes and smoking. "These four major risk factors are avoidable. People don't inherit them; all these are modifiable," he said.

He said he hopes World Heart Day inspires people to see their doctors to determine whether they are at risk. "Heart disease is easily avoidable and readily treatable as long as you are aware of the risk factors and get checked by your doctor." He hopes that people will avoid the risk factors altogether, even though he knows they have heard it before. "The most important things are to eat sensibly and eat your vegetables, and to take regular exercise. And to stop smoking."

amcmeans@thenational.ae