By Annette Chrysostomou
The death rate from cardiovascular disease is terrifying, health minister George Pamboridis said on Tuesday calling it the “leading cause of mortality in the western world”.
Statistically, about 30 per cent of deaths worldwide are caused by or directly related to cardiovascular diseases. And in the EU, cardiovascular problems account for 42 per cent of all deaths. In absolute numbers, the true dimension of the pattern is more striking: every four seconds a heart attack occurs, every five seconds a stroke.
“These are terrifying numbers,” the minister said and showed that cardiovascular diseases, despite significant primary and secondary prevention, remained the main cause of mortality in the western world.
According to the minister, primary prevention should start from childhood by adopting a healthy diet and proper eating behaviour.
He cited World Health Organisation statistics that showed that the implementation of these directives can reduce the frequency of heart diseases by 50-70 per cent, noting that prevention was better than the cure but prevention required awareness.
Pamporidis said the strategic planning of the ministry of health included preventive medicine programmes such as the one currently organised by the Cardiology Society of Cyprus under the umbrella of World Heart Day.
This year, the theme of a series of lectures focuses on sudden cardiac death during sports activities.
Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, the president of the society, Loizos Antoniades, recommended a preventive cardiac evaluation for all people who are going to engage in any form of exercise. The review should include detailed history taking, a physical examination, and a study of the electrocardiogram.
“Some cardiovascular diseases are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms until the sudden event of the athlete’s death. With appropriate measures they can be detected and addressed,” he said.
As part of this year’s campaign, members of the society will give informative interviews on television and radio stations.
On Friday this week between 5pm and 8.30pm, lectures on the subject of the death of young people due to heart problems and how to prevent them are open to the public. The lectures will take place at the Nicosia City Centre hotel – former Holiday Inn. The doctors will also inform the public on the use of automatic cardiac defibrillators.
On Saturday from 9am until 1pm, a seminar will be held at the same venue which will be addressed to doctors and nurses involved with athletes.
In addition, the society of cardiology will set up information kiosks at a number of malls on September 26 from 10am to 2pm. The stands will be located in the Mall of Engomi in Nicosia, and in the big malls in Limassol and Paphos.
Until the end of 2015 lectures by cardiologists are going to be given in army camps, schools, and municipalities to mark. World Heart Day is marked on September 29.