Cardiovascular diseases have been attributed to being the leading cause of death worldwide. More people worldwide die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.
An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, which represents 31% of all global deaths.
Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke.
In the UAE, CVDs continue to represent one of the leading causes of death, with 30% of deaths attributed to CVDs.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 50% of people dying from cardiovascular diseases in some Gulf countries die before the age of 60 due to poor diet, and lack of exercise.
A report from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) showed that nearly 37% of Emiratis between the ages of 35 and 70 suffer from hypertension.
While in some cases hypertension is mainly due to genetics, in most cases it can be blamed on lifestyle.
With higher levels of obesity there is a greater probability UAE women will develop diabetes and associated illnesses including heart disease, and hypertension.
CVDs are a group of disorders affecting the heart and blood vessels, and range from diseases of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle, brain, arms and legs, damage to the heart muscle and heart valves, malformations of heart structure as well as blood clots.
The most important risk factors of heart disease to consider are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use.
Aspirin therapy which thins the blood is a preventative measure that can reduce the risk of major CVD events such as heart attacks and strokes.
It can be used as a secondary prevention measure among individuals who have experienced a heart attack or stroke to prevent additional events.
Prevention remains the key component to help reduce the risk of CVD.
Studies have shown that carrying out more than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week can help reduce risk of coronary heart disease by about 30%.
Other determining factors include quitting smoking as well as balancing a healthy nutritional diet.
In order to reduce the rising number of CVDs in the UAE, individuals need to be better educated on how to reduce the risks.
There is also the need for increased government investment through national programs aimed at prevention and control of CVDs and all chronic diseases.
In line with this, the UAE government has set up a 2021 vision to achieve a world-class health care system which seeks to reduce the number of lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease and ensure a longer and healthier life for its citizens.
Individuals and readers are encouraged to check with their physicians before taking aspirin and any other medication.