Novartis, one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies, has partnered with the Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS) for a campaign that seeks to raise awareness around heart failure in the UAE.
Under the ‘Your Heart Can’t Wait’ campaign, the Emirates Cardiac Society and Novartis seek to educate residents across the emirates about the symptoms of heart failure, and how delaying diagnosis and treatment puts a patient at risk of recurrent hospitalisations that can be fatal. Several leading healthcare providers in the UAE have been engaged to ensure that patients have access to the right information and are empowered to make the right decisions regarding their treatment.
Globally, heart failure impacts more than 25 million people and causes 2 to 3 times as many deaths as advanced cancers. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people over the age of 40 will develop heart failure in their lifetime, while 1 in 3 overlook the symptoms as signs of aging.
“Heart failure is the world’s leading cause of hospitalisation, so it’s vital that all people are aware of its signs and symptoms. In line with our efforts to extend and improve people’s lives, our partnership with the Emirates Cardiac Society aims to achieve this. Through the ‘Your Heart Can’t Wait’ campaign, we are committed to raising awareness about the condition, addressing misconceptions, encouraging early diagnosis when symptoms are detected and supporting patients and their families”, said Mohamed Ezz Eldin, Head, Gulf Countries, Innovative Medicines at Novartis Gulf.
Experts have noted that the most common conditions that can lead to heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and previous heart attack. Studies have shown that at least 50% of heart attack patients in the UAE are under the age of 50. In the MENA region, people are at a higher risk of developing heart failure up to 10 years earlier than in western countries.
Dr Juwairia Alali, President of the Emirates Cardiac Society explained that most heart disease cases can be prevented and that this is the key message behind the ‘Your Heart Can’t Wait campaign’. “We want to encourage residents across the UAE to take the necessary steps to prevent heart disease. It is of the utmost importance that people regularly visit a doctor, especially if they have a history of cardiac diseases in their family and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases”.
According to experts, a proper cardiac evaluation, along with some simple lifestyle changes will go a long way in improving heart health. Studies have revealed a strong correlation between factors such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
“UAE residents can improve their heart health through regular exercises in any form. Another way to prevent heart disease is by maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding fat-rich foods, not smoking, and managing stress levels”, Dr Juwairia Alali advised.
Heart failure is a complex clinical condition where the heart is unable to sufficiently pump blood to maintain the flow necessary to meet the body’s needs. The symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, tiredness and fatigue, fluid retention with swelling of the legs and/or abdomen, and being less able to do physically demanding tasks or exercise. Left untreated, the symptoms get worse over time and can cause higher risk to the patient’s health.