MOH News
Cardiovascular Diseases Cause 42% of Non-Communicable Diseases Deaths in the Kingdom
30 October 2013
A report released by the Media and Health Awareness Information Center at the Ministry of Health (MOH) pointed out that the Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including heart attacks and strokes, are the number-one cause of deaths globally: they are the cause of 17.3 million deaths annually, and this number can be increased. By 2030, almost 23 million people will die from CVDs, mainly from heart disease and stroke, unless effective interventions are taken.
 
The report stressed that the most important behavioral risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. The effects of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood fats, overweight and obesity.
 
According to the WHO and MOH Statistical Yearbook, CVDs are the cause of 42 percent of the Kingdom's non-communicable diseases deaths in 2010. With regard to the CVDs patients at MOH hospitals, recent reports show that there is a slight improvement in the mortality rate of cardiovascular diseases at MOH hospitals over the period from 2008 to 2010. According to the latest Statistical Yearbook for 1431H, the mortality rate declined from 17.99% to 16.39% and then 16.74% in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively.
 
The report further noted that the number of patients with cardiac diseases in the primary health centers mounts to 50213 Saudi men and 42790 women. Thus, the total number of patients with ischemic heart diseases mounts to 167499 people, whereas the number of patients with rheumatic heart diseases is 140322 people in the same year .
 
In the same context, this year's World Heart Day is celebrated under the theme: “Life-course Prevention and Control”. It is basically intended to raise people's awareness of the health factors associated to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), such as obesity, lack of physical activity and smoking (tobacco-use), as well as the ways and suggestions to reduce the burden of such factors to the lowest possible level, especially that CVDs are the number one cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.
 
The report highlighted that the logo of this year's World Heart Day places particular emphases on children and women. Although the CVDs afflicts are common among men and the elderly, almost half of the 17.3 million annual deaths occur in women. Women/mothers are often the “gate keeper” to their family’s health hence a key influencer in keeping their hearts healthy. Children are particularly at risk, since they have little control over their environment and can be limited in choices to live heart-healthily. The CVD morbidity is likely to increase among children unless proper punitive actions are taken.
 
The report pointed out that the Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include:
  • Coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
  • Cerebrovascular disease - disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain.
  • Peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs.
  • Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria.
  • Congenital heart disease - malformations of heart structure existing at birth.
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.
Moreover, the report underscored that the heart attacks and strokes are usually acute events and are mainly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can also be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots.
 
Speaking of the common symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, the report said that there are no often symptoms of the underlying disease of the blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first warning of underlying disease. The symptoms of a heart attack include pain or discomfort in the centre of the chest; and pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back. In addition the person may experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath; feeling sick or vomiting; feeling light-headed or faint; breaking into a cold sweat; and becoming pale.
 
As for the most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, most often on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden onset of numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; difficulty speaking or understanding speech of others; difficulty seeing with one or both eyes; difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance; severe headache with no known cause; and fainting or unconsciousness. People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
 
The report further noted that the individuals can reduce their risk of CVDs by engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke, choosing a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and avoiding foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
 
In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Heart Federation is organizing health events and activities in over 100 countries. Such activities include conducting medical examinations, organizing marches and running competitions, with a view to maintaining people's fitness. That's to be added to public conversations, artistic shows, scientific symposia, exhibitions, festivals, and sports competitions.
 
 



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