‘Treasure Your Heart’ campaign to boost public knowledge about heart disease

Brigadier. Dr. Haitham Amin Head of Cardiology at Mohammed Bin Khalifa Cardiac Centre (MKCC) and Head of the “National Acute Heart Attack Programme” affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has taken major steps to continue improving public health and delivering high quality services in the health care sector.

Dr. Amin added that the launch of the “Treasure Your Heart” campaign aims to improve public knowledge about the causes of heart diseases, with a focus on diseases involving the arteries of the heart, especially heart attacks and coronary artery diseases- the number one cause of death around the world.

He explained that coronary artery disease happens when there is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries of the heart caused by cholesterol build-up and plaque formation. Over time, this leads to decrease blood flow to the heart muscle leading to symptoms. A sudden blockage of the artery of the heart caused by a blood clot will lead to a heart attack with its serious complications, including death.

Dr. Amin listed several risk factors leading to coronary artery disease. These can be divided into non-modifiable causes such as age, a strong family history and gender and modifiable risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, poor diet and the lack of exercise.

The Head of Cardiology at MKCC explained that the symptoms of a heart attack are usually described as chest pain that may occur at rest or can be preceded by emotional or physical stress. This pain is described as a heaviness or burning sensation that gradually increases and reaches its maximal intensity in around 30 minutes. The pain may radiate to the shoulders, arms, jaw or upper back. It may be associated with shortness of breath, sweating, palpitations, dizziness or fainting. Once these symptoms are present, he stressed that an individual should call the National Ambulance (999) or be driven to the closest emergency room or local health centre.

Dr. Haitham Amin stated that prevention is better than cure and that 80% of heart attacks can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices and strict control of the modifiable cardiac risk factors stated above. This includes strict sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol control, as well as lifestyle changes that include exercise, healthy eating, maintaining an ideal weight, and avoidance of all forms of smoking.

According to the WHO, an estimated 17.9 million people have died from cardiovascular diseases in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attacks and strokes.

Source: Bahrain News Agency