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Saudis develop heart disease 10 years younger than global average

Handout photo released by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS in Spanish) press office showing doctor David Arellano (L) conducting a surgery at the La Raza hospital in Mexico City, on September 14, 2017. (AFP)
RIYADH: The average age for developing heart disease in the Kingdom is 56, 10 years younger than the global average, the president of the Saudi Heart Association (SHA) said in an address to its 29th annual conference.
“The number of men and women suffering from heart disease is equal… though men used to have the largest share of the disease,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Dr. Hussam Al-Faleh as saying. He stressed the importance of exercising and healthy eating.
During the conference, a new treatment approved by the American Medical Association and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority was introduced.
“This treatment will effectively reduce cholesterol by 60 percent,” Al-Faleh said. He cited Khalaf Al-Balawi, a 79-year-old Saudi who ran a 21-km half marathon, as an example of the importance of exercise. Al-Balawi thanked the SHA for inviting him to the conference and honoring him.
Dr. Mohammed Balghith said 60 percent of patients with heart disease suffer type 2 diabetes due to lack of activity, excessive fat intake and smoking.
The chairman of the Department of Cardiology at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Dr. William Zogby, said Saudi cardiologists are among the best because they graduate from the world’s top universities and train at leading hospitals.
“The most common challenge faced by Saudi cardiologists is that their patients are not interested in exercising,” he added, stressing the importance of keeping in check one’s blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
At the end of the conference, the SHA announced the winners of scientific research awards worth more than SR250,000 ($66,665).
Dr. Walid Al-Jawhar, Dr. Owaid Al-Shammari and Dr. Fatima Massoudi received the Prof. Mohammad Al-Faqih Annual Award.
Dr. Fatima Sharafuddin received the Dr. Zuhair Al-Hallis Annual Prize, and Dr. Mohammed Mahamoud Nassif received the Dr. Wael Al-Mohaimeed Prize.

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