Regardless of the rate at which us humans are progressing, there are many things which we cannot control- overall health being the top most on that list. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are disorders of the blood vessels and the heart which includes but are not limited to; coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and rheumatic heart disease.

According to a statistical report by the World Health Organization (WHO), CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally and estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% (four out of five diagnosed with CVD) are due to heart attacks and strokes. The alarming factor is that over one-third of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries like Pakistan.

As an individual, one can lower the risk of CVD by lowering their tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Similarly, engaging in any sort of physical activity for half an hour a day also plays it part in preventing attacks and strokes. People who face symptoms such as raised blood pressure, pain in chest, incurable nausea, glucose fluctuations, lipids and obesity are more prone to have CVDs.

However, all such symptoms can be measures in almost every healthcare facility. Identifying people with the highest risk of CVD and providing the needed treatment is the first step towards preventing CVDs. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that all citizens must get their routine checkups done. Similarly, the new government should ensure that free-of-cost or minimal-costing overall health checkups of all citizens should be conducted every 3 months.

NUZAIR A. VIRANI,

Karachi, January 3.