We have had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Omar Salem Al Falasi, Consultant Cardiologist and the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in Abu Dhabi, one of the UAE’s leading healthcare facilities.
We asked Dr Omar Al Falasi, what are the most important actions to take to prevent or control CVD. He encourages that everyone should maintain ‘an active lifestyle, and a balanced & healthy diet. Research shows that leading an active lifestyle is linked to reduction is CVD related mortality. Even moderate activity such as brisk walking can result in significant reductions of risk factors.’ He continues to advise, ‘Strict control of risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, and smoking,’ and that, ‘the Mediterranean diet has been shown recently to reduce CVD.’
The impact of CVD is global and there are some 520 million people living with the disease, however, I asked him how it impacts this region and what the challenges are. The consultant cardiologist explains that due to ‘high incidence of the metabolic syndrome’ – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure & obesity in this region, ‘we see our patients much earlier compared to European Countries’. However, he continues to express ‘the most prominent challenges that we face as healthcare providers includes the lack of awareness of cardiovascular diseases across the general population, especially within high risk groups, coupled with a major denial issue. During our daily practice, we are frequently visited by young patients with metabolic syndrome who continue to smoke despite the fact that they have a friend or know someone who has been directly affected by cardiovascular disease.’