ISLAMABAD: Surgeon General of Pakistan Army Lt Gen Nigar Johar on Sunday said the gradual increase in heart diseases and related deaths in children and adolescents was traumatic.

Speaking at a seminar in connection with the “World Heart Day” organised by Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah), she said development of the country was not possible without an educated and healthy society.

“Tobacco, sweets and greasy products that are used in daily life are the main reasons for heart attacks. Every minute and a half, a person loses his life due to heart diseases. There is a need to have an effective strategy to prevent the causes of heart diseases so that a healthy society can thrive,” she said.

Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) Executive Director Major General Farhan Tayyab said once the mortality rate from infectious diseases such as hypertension and diabetes was very low but the situation gradually changed as simple foods were replaced by poultry foods, fresh fruit juice by artificial drinks, cycling with motorcycles and cars, and playgrounds in educational institutions and streets disappeared, children started spending more time while watching TV and using the internet.

“Today the result is in front of everyone. Though people have progressed rapidly they could not give proper attention to their health,” he said.

Panah President retired Major General Masoodur Rehman Kayani said heart diseases have become the leading cause of death in Pakistan, which continues to rise to alarming levels, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). On an average, 1,100 people die from heart attacks every day.

“The first symptom of the disease in more than 50pc of patients is a heart attack,” he said.

Panah General Secretary Sanaullah Ghumman said one of the major causes of heart disease is smoking.

“We should make maximum use of natural foods, vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, milk and fresh water, so that we could avoid life-threatening diseases, value life, and a healthy society can only be built by healthy people,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2020