There is a need for increased government investment through national programs aimed at prevention and control of CVDs and other non-infectious diseases. There is a need for increased government investment through national programs aimed at prevention and control of CVDs and other non-infectious diseases.

Heart disease awareness initiatives on the rise, prevention remains critically important in Egypt

Thu, Apr. 9, 2020
By: Dr. Magdy Abdelhamid

CAIRO – 9 April 2020: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are amongst the top 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. Nevertheless, in recent decades the age-adjusted mortality from CVD have declined remarkably, while the number of individuals affected by the main cardiovascular risk factors have increased rapidly. With these alarming numbers, new advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of main cardiovascular conditions have been necessary.

That is why on World Health Day, it is important to spread awareness about health-related issues to make healthcare accessible for all. CVDs represent 40% of total deaths in Egypt. The country has one of the most overweight populations in the world.1 The most important risk factors of heart disease to consider are unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. Such risk factors may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity.

There is a need for increased government investment through national programs aimed at prevention and control of CVDs and other non-infectious diseases.

In order to tackle this problem, the Ministry of Health and Population, along with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to help control CVDs and their contributing risk factors such as raising tobacco taxes, helping to reduce salt (Egyptians have an average daily salt intake of 9 grams, nearly double the recommended allowance) and replace trans-fat in the Egyptian diet.

Adults who are 40 to 75 years of age and are being evaluated for cardiovascular disease prevention should undergo 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk estimation and have a clinician–patient risk discussion before starting on pharmacological therapy, such as antihypertensive therapy, a statin, or acetylsalicylic acid. Statin therapy is first-line treatment for primary prevention of heart diseases in patients with elevated low-density cholesterol levels (≥190 mg/dL) and those determined to be at sufficient risk after a clinician–patient risk discussion. Low-dose acetylsalicylic acid might be considered for the primary prevention of heart diseases among selected adults 40 to 70 years of age after a clinician–patient risk discussion.11 Acetylsalicylic acid which thins the blood is a preventative measure that can reduce the risk of major CVD events such as heart attacks and strokes. It can be used as a secondary prevention measure among individuals who have experienced a heart attack or stroke to prevent additional events.

Prevention remains the key component to help reduce the risk of CVD. Studies have shown that carrying out more than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week can help reduce risk of coronary heart disease by about 30%. Other determining factors include quitting smoking as well as balancing a healthy nutritional diet.


Dr. Magdy Abdelhamid is a Professor of cardiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. He is currently the President of the Egyptian Society of Cardiology (EgSC).

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Dr. Abdelhamid is an interventional cardiologist with over 25 years of experience in the field. He has a special interest in coronary intervention, coronary artery diseases and heart failure. Prof Abdelhamid had a certificate from Harvard medical school for excellent performance and successful contribution to the program of heart failure at Brigham and Women’s hospital in 1999.

 
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