Why cardiac/heart diseases are increasing in Chitral?
Since April 2013, I have seen
more than 50 cases of myocardial infarction ( heart attack) in Aga
Khan Medical Centre Booni, alone. It makes me think that why
despite being in a clean atmosphere and peaceful environment our
people are prone to this fatal disease.
And the following three most important reasons
come into my mind which I want to share with the readers.
Hypertension: We call it hypertension when the blood pressure rises
above 140/90. It seems highly prevalent in Chitral. Our people
might be genetically prone, that is a non modifiable risk factor
but what we can modify is our high salt intake. Hypertension is not
curable but controllable, means one needs to take medications life
long and this is something our people need to understand. I have
seen many patients who when asked about the medications for their
raised blood pressure would say ‘ Doctor Sahib! Kyawat kee zyad
boyan, zhiboman kya’ means I take it when my BP gets raised. This
is a very wrong idea. Blood pressure is a silent killer, it mostly
never gives you symptoms and it never gets cured when you take a
tablet once in a blue moon. One has to take the medicine regularly
and keep it checked to see whether it is controlled with the same
dose or one needs to see the doctor to increase the dose. All
healthy people should do their routine check up and get their blood
pressure checked every three months because most of the time high
blood pressure only presents with complications, without any
Unhealthy Diet & Lifestyle: Wise people say that one should avoid
three white poisons, ‘white flour, sugar, salt’. But I have seen
that in this part of world we use all the three white poisons plus
other non white poisons very fondly and in a very high amount. We
are fond of fatty meat, daisi ghee and food rich in cholesterol.
And instead of taking light healthy diet our people tend to take as
much food as possible at a time, putting extra burden on their
tummy and heart.
Lack Of Awareness: The most important thing is that our people are
not yet aware of the fact that one needs to go to the doctor
without any full blown disease, for healthy routine check up. Blood
sugar level, cholesterol level and blood pressure should be checked
routinely after 35 years of age to avoid the fatal diseases
associated with the above mentioned conditions, which mostly
present without symptoms. And the biggest irony is that when one
gets the symptoms of Angina (initial step of heart attack), he/she
calls it ‘wrenz’ i.e muscle sprain and never bothers to go to the
doctor until the heart attack occurs.
There are many other risks associated with cardiac diseases but in
our society the above mentioned ones are the most essential ones
and need to be taken care of.
doctors and nurses should educate people about healthy life style
plus signs, symptoms of cardiac diseases and the urgent need of
seeing doctor when one gets chest pain of any origin.
Dr. Zubeda Sirang