LAHORE: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of deaths worldwide.
As per estimates by the World Health Organisation, 17.3 million people die of cardiovascular disease every year and 80 percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. It is predicted that over 23 million deaths will occur from CVDs by 2030.
It is estimated that hypertension affects approximately 40 percent of adults globally. In Pakistan 50 percent of adults are affected. Ischemic heart disease is responsible for 46 percent of CVD deaths in males and 38 percent in females. Only about 50 percent of the people with hypertension are diagnosed and only half of those are treated.
The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age. At young ages, the prevalence was higher in males than in females; from age 60, however, the trend was reversed, with prevalence higher in women than in men.
These views were expressed by health experts at a press conference held to raise awareness about the burden of hypertension and heart failure and its impact on lives of patients in connection with World Hypertension Day. This was organised by the Novartis in collaboration with Pakistan Cardiac Society (PCS) and Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) on Wednesday.
Speakers at the press conference included PCS President Professor Muhammad Naeem Aslam, PHL President Professor Saulat Siddique, PCS Lahore Chapter Coordinator Professor Zubair Akram, PCS Senior Faculty Member Professor Saqib Shafi Sheikh, PCS Scientific Council Chairman Dr Bilal Sheikhu Mohydin and PCS membr Dr Kamran Babar Ali.
Health experts informed that hypertension is considered the most important modifiable risk factor for diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and end-stage renal disease. This places a huge importance on early identification and treatment of patients with hypertension by the healthcare professionals. A healthy lifestyle and precautionary approaches to decrease the prevalence of this disease in the Pakistani population is also important, doctors stressed.
Professpr Muhammad Naeem Aslam said that heart failure is the abnormality of cardiac structure or function leading to failure of the heart to adequately supply blood to organ systems. It is a chronic condition, which is combined with acute episodes.
Approximately 1-2 percent of adult population suffers heart failure. The mortality rate for patients with chronic heart failure is as high as 50 percent at five years post-diagnosis. Across the globe, 1-4 percent of all hospital admissions attribute heart failure as the primary diagnosis and average length of hospitalisation is five-10 days, he added.
Professor Zubair Akram said that patients with heart failure not only have to cope with the disease but also the negative effects on their quality of life like anxiety, limitation in daily living activities, disruption in their work roles and reduced social interaction. This disease also places significant burden on the career and attendants, he observed.
Professor Saulat Siddique said that echocardiography is the most widely used diagnostic test to confirm heart failure diagnosis, if performed by an expert. The patients most often present with difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath when lying flat, fatigue and tiredness, he highlighted.
The management of heart failure includes dietary sodium and fluid restriction, appropriate physical activity and medicines as advised by the treating physician, he emphasised.
Professor Saqib Shafi Sheikh told that the main objectives of heart failure treatment are improvement in symptoms, improvement in quality of life and to prevent hospitalisation and reduce mortality.
In patients where there is noncompliance to diet or medication, the heart failure may recur. It is important that these patients are counseled and educated about importance of proper diet and medication, he added.
Around 10 million people die each year needlessly. Only one of two people with high BP is aware of it which is more alarming. Approximately four in 10 adults over the age of 25 have hypertension and in many countries, another one in 5 has prehypertension, experts noted.
An estimated nine out of 10 adults living to 80 years of age will develop hypertension. Hypertension is responsible for 13 percent of all deaths and 7 percent of total disability-adjusted life-years, they added.
Published in Daily Times, May 17th 2018.