By PMA RASHEED
26 Sept 2010, The Gulf Today
MEN who work for long hours and have low physical activities face an increased mortality risk from heart disease, according to a health expert.
So, those who have stressful jobs involving long working hours should remain physically fit and follow a healthy diet regimen, advised specialist cardiologist at Dubai Hospital Dr Nooshin Bazargani.
According to her, almost half of those who die from chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke are in the most productive period of their lives, between 15 and 69 years of age.
“Since this age profile spends a considerable amount of time at work, it is essential to teach people to inculcate healthy eating habits at work to minimise a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” she pointed out on the occasion of the World Heart Day that falls on Sunday.
To mark the day, in line with the global theme “workplace wellness,” Dubai Hospital and Rashid Hospital have planned to conduct various health awareness activities.
The World Heart Foundation (WHF), in its 10th edition of observing the World Heart Day, aims at promoting cardiovascular health within the workplace, as it’s proven that a healthy workforce is the backbone of every economy. The WHF raises the slogan “I work with my heart.”
Mentioning ways in which employees can develop positive working habits in a workplace environment, Dr Bazargani, said, “People should try and incorporate some form of physical activity during work.”
“They can use the stairs instead of the lift and in terms of diet they should find healthy options in the cafeteria and eat more of fruits and salads rather than fast foods and greasy food which are readily available nowadays,” she elaborated.
According to Dr Khalifa Omar Muhammed, specialist cardiologist at Rashid Hospital, employers should encourage a healthy workplace environment as it means an increase in productivity.
“Such environment also will lower medical costs for employers and employees as well as result in losing less working hours. Heart disease is preventable provided people follow a healthy lifestyle and avoid tobacco use,” he said.
Dr Mohammed warned that smokers are at a high risk of heart attacks and therefore if a person quits smoking. “Their risk of heart disease will be halved within a year.”
The world heart day programmes, under the patronage of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), will educate people about the importance of regular check-ups, according to a spokesperson of the Authority.
“Cardiologists will be present during all awareness campaigns to provide consultation and advice to people on how to follow a lifestyle that is heart-friendly,” he added.
Dubai Hospital has already started a three-day cardiac health campaign at Deira City Centre, setting up a special booth offering free check-ups for blood pressure and sugar levels, body mass index and cholesterol.
Dr Ahmed Ibrahim Kalban, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA said that the awareness sessions will reach out to the public educating them to tackle lifestyle diseases and encouraging them to modify their dietary and exercise patters so that they are less susceptible to heart diseases.
“Eighty per cent of premature deaths are preventable if people follow a healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoid tobacco. The DHA also highlights the benefits of healthy eating habits in a work environment,” he added.
According to him, heart disease and stroke claim over 1.7 million lives every year and globally heart disease is a leading cause of mortality.
“The Rashid Hospital check-up drive happening on Sunday at the DHA headquarters, will be held on the following days at Dewa (Sept.27), Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre (Sept.28), and at PHC centres in Al Twar and Al Khawneej areas (Sept.29),” said the DHA spokesperson.
“The conclusion of the campaign will be held at Sonapur labour camp on Sept.30. The inmates will be given lectures and easy-to-follow information on how to maintain a healthy heart,” he added.