Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH , dr. Waleed Al-Habib, head of the Saudi Heart Association, said that 45 percent of deaths in the Kingdom are caused by heart diseases, primarily atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, he said that more than 30 percent of the Saudi population is at risk of heart diseases. “Saudi Arabia is considered as one of the countries with the highest risk of heart disease, which is the first cause of death in the Kingdom. This necessitated the Saudi Health Council to launch new standards to bring down cases of heart diseases,” he said.
dr. Al-Habib, a consultant cardiologist, pointed out that high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes and lack of physical activity are major causes of heart disease. “Deaths due to heart attacks are not new among young people. Such cases are widely circulated among users of social networking sites,” he said.
dr. Al-Habib explained that the increasing number of deaths among young people is a result of disturbances in the electrocardiogram, in addition to diseases that were not detected in the patient. “One of the causes of strokes that occur among athletes is the presence of undetected diseases in the heart muscle. So we advise practicing athletes to pay attention to this.”
Regarding the need for patients to quit smoking, Dr. Al-Habib said: “Personally, I do not advise the patient in his final stages to quit smoking, as this has no effect by that time.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Habib said that the “Protect Your Heart” initiative targets medical examinations for one million citizens and expatriates in the Kingdom through strategic partnerships with the health and voluntary sectors to target the age groups most at risk of heart disease. This is through multiple channels, including immediate check-ups that are provided inside major commercial centers and parks spread in various cities of the Kingdom through the health campaign team and its mobile clinics.
dr. Al-Habib briefed on the initiative in a press conference held as part of the promotion of the initiative, which is the largest awareness campaign in the Kingdom dealing with cardiovascular diseases under the supervision of the Ministry of Health. The campaign is being implemented by the Volunteer Health Association in partnership with specialized pharmaceutical companies.
Senior medical consultants in the field of heart health and various specialities, media professionals and employees of the Ministry of Health and health volunteering organizations are also taking part in the campaign.