x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Women get heart attack warning

Cardiovascular disease more likely to strike females.

DUBAI // Women are at the heart of an awareness campaign intended to shed light on the threat of cardiovascular disease.

The Go Red for Women campaign, now in its second year, began at Deira City Centre yesterday.

Dubai Health Authority will be conducting free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol tests today and tomorrow, and on May 13 and May 14.

"There are 17.5 million deaths [worldwide] from cardiovascular disease each year ... 8.6 million are women," said Dr Nooshin Bazargani, specialist cardiologist at Dubai Hospital and head of Emirates Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Group. "We tend to be unequal in how we deliver our care; we are far more aggressive with men than females and this applies internationally. Females usually get a check-up at a later stage."

Dr Bazargani explained that the campaign, dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and control of cardiovascular disease (CVD), affects a broad range of women.

"A quarter of all deaths in the UAE are caused by CVD. Our overall message is that we need to prioritise the health of women when it comes to cardiovascular disease."

"Cardiovascular disease is the No 1 one killer, so red is an alert for women and health professionals," Dr Bazargani said.

A study that was conducted in six GCC countries, including the UAE, over a six-month period in 2009 analysed 8,000 patients who were admitted to hospital with heart attacks.

"Analysis of the registry showed that if you look at the male population, we had an equal distribution, 50 per cent expatriates and 50 per cent locals. If you look at the female population, 80 per cent of females who had heart attacks were locals and 20 per cent were expatriates," she said.

Another interesting finding was that women had a higher chance of developing complications.

"Women are more at risk of bleeding and have a higher risk of heart failure."

Dr Fahad Omar Baslaib, the head of cardiology at Rashid Hospital and president of Emirates Cardiac Society, called on women to incorporate exercise into their daily lifestyle and to go for regular check-ups.

"Women are under-diagnosed and under-treated. The idea behind this campaign is to increase awareness about the fact that heart disease affects women as well," he said.

Dr Baslaib said hypertension, diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle all contributed to heart disease.

"We want to deliver the message that the situation is becoming alarming, while highlighting the causes and prevention measures," he said.

balqabbani@thenational.ae