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Health Festival to Focus on Heart Problems

Dubai The Family , launched yesterday, hopes to make people aware of the need to take better care of themselves as doctors warn that heart attacks are becoming an ‘epidemic’ in the country.

Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, inaugurating the event at the Dubai Festival City, said the initiative will benefit thousands of people and the Ministry supports such campaigns from the private sector.

The month-long event will run simultaneously with the Dubai Shopping Festival and will include free health check-ups and counselling by medical experts at various malls.

“Last year we welcomed 100,000 people at our kiosk and we hope to increase the numbers this time,” said Prem Jagyasi, CEO of ExHealth, organizer of the event.

Dr Obaid Al Jasem, heart surgeon and vice-president of the Emirates Cardiac Society, said the campaign will not only help UAE residents but also tourists. “People will be educated on how important it is to reduce the cholesterol level,” he said.

The surgeon said more than half of the Gulf population suffer from high cholesterol. “Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the UAE,” he said.

The Society has launched the biggest study ever across the six Gulf States to asses cholesterol levels of the population.

He said a similar study done in five European states showed that 50 per cent of the population suffered from high cholesterol despite taking medication to control it.

Cholesterol, a soft waxy substance in the blood stream turns dangerous due to diets high in saturated fat, lack of exercise and hereditary factors.

If you have high levels of bad cholesterol, it will clog up the arteries which pump blood to the heart and brain. The result is or a stroke.

Yousuf Ali A.M., a consultant cardiologist, with Dubai Health Authority, said doctors are overwhelmed with the number of heart patients and those with damaged heart muscles.

“But this can be reversed. It is now up to the people themselves,” he said.

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