Govt urged to spend more on preventive cardiology in primary healthcare

KARACHI: Leading cardiologists and health experts have urged the federal and provincial governments to immediately launch preventive cardiology programs throughout the country in primary care, saying prevention is the only solution to reduce premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease.

They warned that half of the country’s population, especially middle-aged women were suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of heart attacks as well as strokes, renal failures, and blindness among others, deploring that millions of people living with high blood pressure for years were not aware that they were going to face serious health issues in the days to come.

“Pakistan is faced with epidemics of hypertension and obesity, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and premature deaths in the county. As we can’t treat all the patients with cardiovascular disease, the only way forward is to immediately launch preventive cardiology programs in all the primary healthcare facilities”, Vice-Chancellor, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Prof. Saeed Quraishy said while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of 24th PHL conference here on Friday.

Hundreds of cardiologists and health experts from health facilities and medical educational institutions are attending the three-day 24th Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) Annual Scientific Conference, which would be addressed by over 80 cardiologists and health experts from entire Pakistan as well as abroad including European, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries.

Speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the scientific conference, Prof. Saeed Qurasihy maintained that there is a need to control the problem of cardiovascular disease as well as other ailments in the initial phases, and in this regard, nothing is more helpful than launching preventive cardiology programs at primary and secondary levels.

“I hope that recommendations of this summit where the top of the line cardiologists and experts would be presenting their papers, with focus on the aspect of prevention, would be forwarded to the authorities for implementation”, he said.

Eminent interventional cardiologist and president of Pakistan Society of Interventional Cardiology (PCIC), Prof. Nadeem Rizvi also emphasized the preventive aspect, saying countries like could not afford to treat all the patients with cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases so that only option is to spend on preventive cardiology instead of making huge treatment facilities.

“It is the right time that we should focus more on preventive cardiology instead of interventional cardiology as we don’t have the resources to treat all the patients. With more focus and spending on prevention, we would be able to save a lot more lives in the country”, he said.

Another expert from Multan, Prof. Haroon Babar who is President of Pakistan Cardiac Society said more than half of the people with hypertension were unaware that they were having high blood pressure while those on medicines were also unable to control their blood pressure as people were totally unaware of the consequences of the uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“In these circumstances, awareness is the only tool we have to control this epidemic in our society, for which entire society and the authorities would have to work together”, he said.

Secretary-General PHL Prof. Muhammad Ishaque said the main objective of their conference this year was to promote awareness about hypertension and its implications among common people as well as among the healthcare professionals as many of them were unaware of the damages it could cause to the health and entire body of the people.

The organizing secretary of the 24th PHL conference Prof. Nawaz Lashari was of the opinion that in addition to causing physical health issues, hypertension could also lead to depression and anxiety which in turn reduce the immunity of the patients and make them susceptible to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Other leading cardiologists including founding member PHL Prof. Azhar Farooqui, Director Health Karachi Dr. Akram Sultan, Dr. Beenish Imam, and others also spoke on the occasion. TF Report

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