Matters of the Heart

When we think of hearts, we may think of Valentine’s Day, roses and chocolates. But another heart matter is the awareness about heart disease or cardiovascular disease since it is the leading cause of death. Globally, heart disease causes twice the number of mortalities than all cancers combined. About one out of three people in the world die from heart disease.

Emirates Hospital Consultant Interventional Cardiologist & Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Allam Alkowatli, says, “Heart disease is number one killer worldwide and is an alarming concern because of the statistics and its rise in the younger population. We see this because of sedentary lifestyles, smoking, and unhealthy eating habits.”

Most Health Diseases are Preventable by Changing Habits

Dr. Alkowatli recommends an annual health check up, which can be done at one of our many Emirates Healthcare facilities across the UAE along with regular blood pressure monitoring of at least once a month – or more if hypertension is an ongoing problem. Here are other small changes in habits to reduce the risks of this disease, which is mostly preventable.

The Matter of Eating Healthy

In Dubai, eating on the go or at a restaurant has become more popular than eating at home. With this convenience, it is easy to overlook foods prepared with partial or fully hydrogenated cooking oils which have been chemically altered to improve taste and shelf-life. This process creates trans-fatty acids, known as trans fats, which increase heart disease risk, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Healthy fats for cooking foods include avocado oil, canola oil and olive oil.

The Matter of Smoking

In the UAE, about 20% of the population smokes. Tobacco damages the lining of the arteries and increases the changes of Cholesterol up in the walls that narrows the arteries, making blood flow difficult. Individuals who stop smoking can reduce their risks of heart disease.

The Matter of Exercise

Exercise is more challenging with today’s conveniences like cars, elevators, escalators and public transportation, which have replaced basic exercise like walking. Making small behavioral changes to reduce heart disease risks include parking further away from the destination or opting to walk instead of taking a taxi for shorter distances. When it comes to the amount and type of exercise that adults should get each day, here are the recommendations:

● Brisk walking for at least 40 minutes 6 days a week is recommended for most adults. This will improve the stamina, boost circulation and cardiovascular fitness.

● Children, age 5 to 17, should get 60 minutes per week of more vigorous activity like running, playing football, etc.

The Matter of Genetics

Genetics play a major role in the risk of heart disease development. Individuals who have immediate family members with known heart disease or a stroke may want to consider genetic testing in addition to early and regular cardiovascular check up. Emirates Healthcare offers a comprehensive cardiovascular risk genetic test at its hospital and clinics

The Matter of Your Health and Your Heart

The heart is an organ and muscle, weighing less than a pound and beating up to three billion times during a person’s life .Read more information on heart disease risk factors, the symptoms to look out for and cardiovascular treatments to become more familiar with this deadly disease.

In addition to regular health check ups with our doctors, small changes in eating, exercising and smoking habits will help you reduce the risks that matter to your heart!

About Dr. Allam Alkowatli, MD, FACC

With almost two decades of experience and extended training specific to interventional cardiology, Dr. Alkowatli is a highly skilled American Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist who has performed thousands of coronary angioplasty and stenting operations, and almost 5,000 left heart catheterization procedures in the USA and UAE. He also treats patients for fast, slow or irregular heart rhythms, either with medications or the assistance of medical devices like pacemakers or defibrillators.

To learn more about the precautions & symptoms related to heart diseases , please feel free to contact Dr. Allam Alkowatli,  Interventional Cardiologist,  Emirates Hospitals & Clinics at 800 444 444