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KARACHI: Heart specialists at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) on Wednesday said they were foreseeing at least 10 per cent increase in heart patients during Ramazan.

In a press briefing at the premier hospital dedicated to take care of heart diseases, they advised people to drink excessive water in Sehri, avoid eating fried and high-calorie sweets at Iftar, reduce salt consumption and rely more on fruit and vegetables to avoid heart attacks and other complications.

“Due to bad eating habits during Ramazan an increase of at least 10pc of heart patients is being witnessed at the NICVD for quite some years. With a little awareness and precautionary measures, people can stay healthy and avoid heart related complications,” said Dr Nadeem Qamar, executive director of the NICVD at the briefing.

Accompanied by cardiologist Prof Nadeem Rizvi, Dr Qamar said certain people ate so excessively during the month that they gained more weight instead of losing it and eventually they ended up at hospitals for heart complications, diabetes and obesity.

“When a person keeps fast during Ramzan in the summer, his or her blood gets thicker,” said Dr Nadeem Qamar, adding that thickness of blood could lead to clot formation in veins and result in heart attack or stroke.

He advised people to drink plenty of water during Sehri and Iftar.

“Dehydration leads to electrolyte imbalance and this can also result in heart disease,” he warned.

Advising people to avoid eating fried items like pakoras, samosas and high-calorie sweets like jalebis, he urged them to rely more on eating fresh fruits, fresh juices, whole wheat bread and vegetables.

He said people should also try to eat small quantities of food two to three times after Iftar instead of eating all at once.

He advised chronic heart patients to consult their doctors before deciding to fast because it could cause danger to heart patients’ life when one avoided essential medicines without proper guidance from doctors.

Patients of diabetes and hypertension, who had to take medicines regularly, should also consult their doctors before fasting, he said and added that diabetes and hypertension medicines must be re-adjusted during Ramazan.

He said in case of heart attack, a person should be given aspirin immediately as it was one proven medicine that prevented mortality while Anjicid medicine should be placed beneath the tongue before shifting a patient to hospital.

The experts said incidence of premature coronary heart disease was very high in Pakistan as compared to other countries due to genetic reasons.

“We have no concrete data of heart patients, but we believe that every second person after 50 years of age had such complications or prone to them in Pakistan.”

Dr Qamar said the NICVD witnessed 33pc increase in heart patients in 2015 as compared to corresponding year while they were expecting a 43-45pc increase of heart patients in 2016.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2016


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