If you are a young person below the age of 35 and are living in the UAE, there is a new statistic out there that really needs to get you worried. Heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases resulting from smoking, obesity, stress and lack of exercise is becoming a problem for more and more young people in the emirates. Doctors in Abu Dhabi have released preliminary research data that strongly suggests that severe heart disease becomes a problem for UAE residents 15 years earlier than their compatriots in other countries.
Doctors are attributing this phenomenon to rapidly changing lifestyles. The aggressive competitiveness and fast ways of life these days is to blame for the increased stress levels in many people. Doctors have also noticed increased instances of what they term as ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ in patients as a result of stress associated with losing or separating from a spouse either through death or divorce.
“Now, people are facing more challenges and greater stress than our great-grandparents because of greater economic demands and faster pace in life, so the heart — which is the main engine of the body — gets exhausted faster than ever before.” This is according to Dr Walid Shaker, Consultant and Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi. Dr Shaker talks of patients under 35 with severe heart problems and even some patients below 30 years with severe rheumatic valve disease.
Many people living in the emirates run the risk of being stricken during their prime, much earlier than their compatriots in other countries. More than half of the patients suffering from cardiovascular related problems in the Gulf countries succumb to their deaths before they reach the age of 60, this according to the World Health Organisation. Such deaths are mostly common with people who lack enough levels of physical exercise, eat unbalanced diets and do not generally take care of themselves.
Living life on the fast lane means people have less time to sit and eat at home, talk less of dedicating few precious hours preparing a home cooked meal. Reheating pre-packaged foods, fast food and other poor dietary choices are the common ways of life for many in the UAE. These factors coupled with the tense life and work environments that people live in provide breeding ground for stress and eventually cardiovascular related complications.
Staying Safe In the Face of Alarming Facts
All hope is not lost. Experts believe that early screening can help detect heart problems before they get out of hand. Doctors advise patients with high blood pressure to quickly report signs of shortness of breath, migraines/severe headaches and chest pain as these are wake-up calls suggesting something bigger is amiss.
Dr Mohammad Rahi Al Hasnawi, Cardiology Specialist at Medeor 24×7 Hospital advises people to stick to some basic measures in protecting their health. Cutting the average sugar and salt intake, abandoning smoking and performing regular exercise are the World Heart Federation’s suggestions towards living a healthy life that Dr Al Hasnawi wants everyone to abide by.
So if you live in the UAE, the Gulf countries or anywhere else in the world, Doctors say getting a routine health check may determine how you live the rest of your life. Living a healthy lifestyle begins from working out, eating wholesome meals, not smoking and doubling down on the stressed-out lifestyles so you can live life to the fullest.