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Heart Diseases And Stroke - The Leading Cause Of Premature Deaths In The World

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, has been the leading cause of premature deaths in the world for both men and women, claiming 17.1 million lives every year according to the World Health Organisation. In the UAE, this is about one in every two to four deaths. Heart disease has a large number of risk factors, some of which we can influence and other that we cannot. The uncontrollable factors include family history, age, gender, ethnicity and certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes where the blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels. Men are at a greater risk of CVD than women, especially after the age of 45. For women the risk increases with menopause. It is however important to note that CVD affects younger people as well and the trend seen in the UAE shows that people are affected by 10-15 years earlier that in the rest of the world. Additionally, people of South Asian and Afro Caribbean origin have a greater risk at developing heart disease at a younger age than other nationalities depending on genetic predisposition. “We cannot change our genetic predisposition, however what everyone can do is to modify their behavior to largely eliminate the risk factors that can be altered. These include poor nutrition, obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides levels, high blood pressure, stress, smoking and excessive alcohol use. They are all interlinked, influencing each other and cumulating. For example, our sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which further increase the risk of CDV.” says Zuzana Stewart, Nutritionist at Emirates Home Nursing. The good news is that according to the World Health Organisation 80% of premature deaths from CVD can be prevented. Zuzana Stewart explains, “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart disease. There are a few heart healthy tips, which I always highlight to Emirates Home Nursing’s clients: Maintain a healthy body weight, go for regular checkups, stop smoking, reduce your stress levels, reduce or eliminate your alcohol consumption, exercise regularly and follow healthy balanced diet. This involves dedication, planning ahead and for many a complete change of lifestyle. As a nutritionist I support clients to reach their potential and maximize their health and well-being. I empower them to gradually implement these changes into their lives and more importantly maintain them. I love being able to inspire people to reach and feel their best”.

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