Heart disease is a growing concern worldwide, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is no exception. A new study commissioned by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, has revealed alarming statistics about the prevalence of heart disease among UAE residents.
As we approach World Heart Day on September 29, it is essential to delve into the findings of this study and understand the impact of heart disease on the UAE population.
- The data is based on a survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2023.
- The survey involved 1,000 UAE residents.
Risk factors for heart disease in UAE residents:
|Risk factor||Percentage of UAE residents|
|Obesity||35% (40% of women)|
|Lack of physical exercise||44%|
|High blood pressure||46%|
The Prevalence of Heart Disease in the UAE
The study conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi involved more than a thousand UAE residents, shedding light on the startling reality that over half of them have been directly affected by heart disease at some point in their lives. This finding underscores the pervasive nature of cardiovascular disease in the country, with 55 percent of respondents reporting a personal connection to heart disease.
These connections include being diagnosed themselves (12%), having a close friend or family member diagnosed with heart disease (53%), or both.
Cardiovascular disease has emerged as the leading cause of death in the UAE, posing a significant public health challenge. What is particularly concerning is that the symptoms of heart disease often manifest a decade earlier in UAE patients compared to their counterparts in other developed nations. Dr. Ronney Shantouf, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, acknowledges the profound impact of heart disease on the community, stating, “Each and every heart disease diagnosis ripples out from the patient to their family and friends, naturally causing a great deal of anguish for all concerned. It doesn’t have to be this way; most heart disease cases could be prevented.”
Awareness and Prevention
Despite the grim statistics, there are some positive findings in the study. The survey reveals a strong awareness of the risk factors associated with heart disease, with 78 percent of respondents claiming they understand these factors.
Moreover, more than half of those surveyed are aware that physicians recommend engaging in over 150 minutes of exercise per week to help prevent heart disease. This awareness is a promising sign that many UAE residents are receptive to preventive measures.
The Urgent Need for Check-Ups
However, despite the high level of awareness, there is a significant gap in action. The study reveals that 53 percent of UAE residents have not had their heart health checked for more than two years, and a staggering 30 percent have never undergone such a check-up.
Even among those over the age of 45, a group at higher risk for heart disease, 49 percent have not had a heart health check-up in more than two years, and 22 percent have never had one. Alarmingly, women are even less likely to have consulted a healthcare professional about their heart health, with 35 percent having never done so, and 26 percent not having had a check-up in more than two years.
Dr. Shantouf expresses deep concern about these findings, emphasizing the vital importance of regular check-ups, especially for those at higher risk. He states, “It is very concerning that despite the tremendous strain heart disease places on our community and the high level of awareness we see, people are still reluctant to visit the doctor and take steps to prevent heart disease.”
Risk Factors and Associated Conditions
While the majority of respondents have not had a heart health check-up in recent years, only 15 percent reported having no risk factors for heart disease.
The most commonly reported risk factors among those surveyed include high blood pressure (46%), stress (45%), high cholesterol levels (44%), and lack of exercise (44%).
The study commissioned by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has provided valuable insights into the state of heart disease in the UAE. With over half of UAE residents having a personal connection to heart disease, the need for proactive measures cannot be overstated. While there is commendable awareness of risk factors and prevention, the reluctance to undergo regular heart health check-ups remains a significant concern.
reference link : https://www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae/en/media-center/news/more-than-half-of-uae-residents-affected-by-heart-disease