There is no denying the fact that Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the principal cause of deaths worldwide. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 18.6 million people die from CVDs each year. This accounts for about 32 per cent of all global deaths. Heart attack and stroke alone contribute 85 per cent of the total heart disease-related fatalities. People living in low and middle income countries have been bearing the brunt of heart disease, with more than three quarters of CVD-related deaths occurring in such nations. Among the various non-communicable diseases, CVDs are the major ailment leading to millions of premature deaths under the age of 70 annually across the world. In Nepal, as many as 30,000 people die from heart disease annually. Bearing this in mind, the WHO, national governments and other relevant agencies have been scrambling to prevent this disease.
Health specialists say that most CVDs can be prevented by dealing with behavioural risk factors like the use of tobacco, unhealthy diets. obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol are also associated with behavioural risks. Many lives could be saved with the detection of the cardiovascular diseases in the initial stage. Despite being the deadly diseases, CVDs can be managed with proper medication and counselling. But it is sad to note that millions of patients suffering from CVDs and other non-communicable diseases in many countries throughout the world had failed to visit hospitals to have regular consultations with their doctors following the outbreak of COVID-19. Most healthcare institutions were converted into COVID-19 hospitals due to the spread of the disease at an alarming rate worldwide.
As those with underlying health conditions are at higher risks of catching the fatal viral disease than others, it has not been easier for them to visit their doctors on a regular basis. Besides, these patients are required to strictly follow health safety protocols such as wearing a face mask, washing hands, using sanitisers and maintaining social distancing. This has also caused inconveniences to them when it comes to receiving their routine health services. There are still misconceptions that only those exceeding 50 years of age can develop heart disease. But doctors say such disease can affect anyone anytime. According to them, heart-related ailments can affect people even during their childhood or early twenties. So, it is essential for everyone to have a healthy heart as it supplies nutrients and oxygen to body cells and help to remove waste.
Cardiologists advise people to consume only healthy food and adopt active lifestyle and give up heavy smoking and the use of alcohol to prevent heart diseases. According to them, the heart disease is widespread even in Nepal, with about 35 per cent of people aged above 18 years having high blood pressure, and 25 per cent of them having cholesterol problem. Some 15 per cent of the school-going children from five to 15 years of age have been suffering from rheumatic heart disease. Some form of heart ailment has affected about 25 per cent of population of Nepal. What is more worrying is the fact that about 90 per cent of them are at risk of CVD. The government needs to come up with robust policies to prevent the heart disease.