3.7m die of heart diseases annually in SE Asia: WHO
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the number one reasons for death, claiming 17.5 million lives per year globally, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
In the Southeast Asian region, the diseases cause an estimated 3.7 million deaths annually, or one fourth of all deaths. One third of these deaths from cardiovascular diseases is premature and occurs among those aged less than 70 years.
"The good news is that the majority of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases can be prevented through simple measures, such as following a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and by managing stress," said WHO's Regional Director for South East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
In a message on the occasion of World Heart Day, Dr Poonam urged all sectors of the government and society to create heart-friendly environment and provide heart-healthy choices for all individuals -- where they live, work and play.
She said examples heart friendly environment may include the availability of healthy food, smoke-free zones and avenues for physical activity that should be available in public spaces, schools, workplaces and communities.
WHO Representative to Bangladesh Dr N Paranietharan said Bangladesh has a mortality of 179 per 100,000 people under the age of 70 among men and 152 per 100,000 in women from cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Paranie suggested consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as food with low salt and saturated fat to minimize risks of high blood pressure and associated diseases.
He also underscored the need for effective utilisation of primary healthcare and engagement of non-health sectors at the upazila level to face the challenge.
According to WHO, heart disease among women, which remain under-recognized and under-treated, needs to be taken into account.
In Southeast Asia, exposure to household air pollution from using solid fuel for cooking substantially increases the risk of heart diseases for women. Almost 60 percent of households in the region use solid fuel for cooking.
WHO, Southeast Asia has, however, set a target for reducing premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases by 25 percent within 2025 and has developed a regional action plan to achieve this target.
The World Heart Day is observed each year on September 29 to aware and intensifies actions for effectively addressing the rising burden of cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases across the globe. This year's theme is "Healthy heart choices for everyone everywhere".