• 9/25/2018
    Dr. Omar Al Tamimi, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Heart Hospital says making small lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and quitting smoking can play a major role in helping to reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. He says around 60 percent of all patients treated at Heart Hospital have cardiovascular disease, with the remainder of patients being treated for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart valve disease. 

    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term used to describe conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It is usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries and is a major cause of death and disability worldwide.

    “Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels and can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke. Common types of heart disease include coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), heart failure, heart valve disease, heart muscle disease, and congenital heart disease,” notes Dr. Al Tamimi.

    He explains that cardiovascular disease symptoms can differ in men and women, with men being more likely to experience chest pain and women being more likely to experience discomfort that originates in, or radiates to, the chest and is accompanied by shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue.

    “The symptoms of cardiovascular disease can vary from person to person. Other common symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms (if the blood vessels in those parts of the body are narrowed), and pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back,” said Dr. Al Tamimi.

    Dr. Al Tamimi says in addition to quitting smoking, eating a diet that is low in sugar, salt, and saturated fat, engaging in physical exercise, and controlling health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can improve or prevent heart disease. He also stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and reducing or managing stress. 

    “In addition to lifestyle changes, early and regular evaluation of one’s heart is an important step towards preventing cardiovascular disease. In many cases, CVD goes undiagnosed until the patient experiences a heart attack, angina, stroke, or heart failure. It is important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms and discuss concerns with your doctor. Heart disease is easier to treat when detected early,” Dr. Al Tamimi points out. 

    On the occasion of World Heart Day, recognized this year on 29 September, and in line with the objectives of the National Health Strategy 2018-2022, Dr. Al Tamimi says HMC is encouraging the public to be their own health advocate. He says we must all take an active role in health promotion, disease prevention, and early detection of ill health.

    “Individuals must take control of their own heart health by making modifications to their lifestyles to reduce their risk of CVD and stroke,” says Dr. Al Tamimi.

    According to the World Heart Federation, CVD is responsible for 17.5 million deaths every year, and by 2030 the figure is predicted to rise to nearly 23 million.