ISLAMABAD  – Shifa International Hospital on Monday arranged a daylong heart awareness workshop and free medical camp for journalists here at National Press Club (NPC).

Besides free check up from medical consultants, various tests related to heart diseases were conducted including blood pressure level, diabetes and cholesterol level.

Addressing on the occasion, Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Saeedullah Shah said that the objective of arranging medical camp and workshop was to educate media persons about cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and its prevention and control. He advised the journalists to adopt the habit of routine walk and exercise for maintaining good health and for reducing chances of morbidity, disability and premature mortality due to CVDs.

He said unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are key risk factors for the major noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. Dr Saeedullah Shah added the major causes of cardiovascular disease are tobacco use, physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet and harmful use of alcohol.

He said cardiovascular disease is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, raised blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and heart failure. He said that smoking cessation is the most effective intervention for patients with CVDs. He added doctors and nurses should avail every opportunity to encourage patients to stop smoking.

Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Asad Ali said that many people die each year due to cardiovascular diseases and a substantial number of these deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking.

, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease 2-3 fold.

He said the risk increases with age and is greater for women than for men. In contrast, cardiac events fall 50 per cent in people who stop smoking and the risk of CVDs, including acute myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, also decreases significantly after stopping smoking, he added.

He said continuing to smoke after myocardial infarction or coronary revascularization can have serious clinical consequences. Even eight years after myocardial infarction, the mortality of post-myocardial infarction patients who continue to smoke is double that of quitters.

He said those who do not stop smoking after coronary revascularisation also have a two-fold higher risk of re-infarction and death. Clinical Dietitian Ms Samia recommended the participants to achieve energy balance and a healthy weight, limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption, away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids.

She also advised them to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and legumes, whole grains and nuts, limit the intake of free sugars, limit salt consumption from all sources and ensure that salt is iodised. She said that improving dietary habits is a societal, not just an individual problem, therefore it demands a population-based, multisectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant approach, she added.