While the country has martyred over 70,000 souls to the War on Terror — more than any nation in the world, it is still dwarfed by the number of people who have died due to heart ailments.
Every year, over 100,000 people die of heart attacks alone, a figure which balloons when accounting for those dying of other heart-related ailments.
Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) Chief Executive Officer Major General (retd) Azhar Mehmood Kayani said that in South Asia, particularly in this region, most suffer from cardiac diseases.
A cardiologist, Maj Gen Kayani explained that people living this region have genetically slender arteries. This genetic factor is compounded due to an unhealthy lifestyle, he said.
“There is no harm in accepting that our society has no concept of maintaining a balanced diet, rather we believe in to eat all that tastes good without any restriction to sate the desire of taste buds, Maj Gen Kayani said.
He went on to state that heart diseases are linked to age since youngsters between the ages of 22 to 35 years-of-age who have suffered from heart attacks have been brought to the RIC for treatment.
“The reasons are very simple and lucid because first, we have no adequate plan in our life to lead a simple and healthy life. Halwa Puri, Nihari, Paya, Biryani are the typical traditional dishes which people love to eat and are not bound to any occasion or festive moments,” he said.
“Every Sunday, news channels air special segments on desi breakfasts available at different eateries of the city without realising that their alluring programmes may have disastrous effects on the lives of their viewers,” Maj Gen Kayani added.
He added that cholesterol and junk food is proliferating everywhere, regardless of class.
While doctors do not ask people to quit these harmful foods, they do demand that people adopt a safe and healthy lifestyle.
“At least one can reduce their intakes of Paya, Nihari and Halwa Puri from every day to once a week,” Maj Gen Kayani said, adding that they recently received three patients at the RIC who were just 22-years-of-age and were suffering from varying heart diseases.
While diagnosing the young men, doctors, he said, discovered that one of the patients developed a minor clot in the artery which had damaged around 60 per cent of his heart. The patient in question works at a restaurant and used to work until late every night. As a result, he did not have proper sleep while he ate food which was of poor quality and had contributed to his disease.
Another patient, a 35-year-old-woman who suffered a heart attack and was admitted to RIC. The woman’s condition, doctors discovered, had deteriorated owing to an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise.
“To our dismay, there is no record of annual cardiac arrests taking place in the country except for the deaths,” Maj Gen Kayani complained.
APP. Heart attacks kill more people than terrorism. The Express Tribune, November 27, 2017.