LAHORE    -   Medical experts have demanded that in view of the rapid rise in heart diseases in the country, separate units of preventive cardiology should be set up in hospitals where not only the general public but also health workers will be provided awareness on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid these diseases.  

Expressing concerns on the rise of heart disease among young people largely due to eating disorders and lack of exercise, they said that it is one of the leading causes of death in the world - killing two hundred and fifty thousand people in the country, compared to 19 million worldwide last year. 

Addressing an event organised at Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore on Tuesday to mark World Heart Day, UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Javed Akram announced that the varsity would launch a level four postgraduate program in preventive cardiology. 

“A chair for the program will be set up at Allama Iqbal Medical College, while funding for the program will be provided jointly by UHS and the Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM)”, he said adding that doctors pursuing MS Cardiology and MD Internal Medicine would be able to enroll in this super speciality program. 

He said that now every second person in Pakistan had blood pressure and every third person had heart disease.  He said that earlier heart disease was considered as a disease of the rich but now it is also common among the poor.  

“This is largely due to our ‘Mc Donaldization’ of our food and distance from physical exertion”, he opined.  

Prof Javed Akram said that people had to change their lifestyle.  “Obese people should lose up to 10 per cent of their weight.  In this regard, it is important to reduce the size of the waist. 

Men bring their waist size up to 34 inches while women bring up to 32 inches”, he added.  

He further said that inserting a stent in the heart or bypass operation was not a permanent cure for heart disease. President, Pakistan Cardiac Society (PCS), Prof Haroon AK Babar, said that prevention is better than cure but people do not pay any attention to it.  

“Every hospital in the United States has a preventive cardiology unit.  The government is requested to set up these units in hospitals here as well”, he said.   He further said that like hypertension, high cholesterol was also a silent killer. People should take care of it and get tested from time to time.  

Principal, Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC), Prof Arif Tajammul said that due to corona, public and media attention had been diverted from heart diseases.  

However, given its importance, setting up public awareness programs was need of the hour, he stressed.  

Cardiologist Prof Zubair Akram, Dr Khalid Khan and eminent physician Prof. Tariq Waseem also addressed on the occasion. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed by the representatives of UHS, AIMC, PSIM and PCS. 

Earlier, a walk was also organized at Allama Iqbal Medical College on the occasion of World Heart Day. 

The walk was led by UHS VC Prof Javed Akram and AIMC Principal Prof Arif Tajammul.  The walk was attended by a large number of senior faculty, staff and students who carried various placards with messages in connection with the World Heart Day.