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01 October 2023

Blood pressure big future killer in Middle East

By Joseph George

Doctors have warned that the mortality rate among men in the Middle East will increase by as much as 174 per cent during the next decade, as high blood pressure and heart diseases continue to rise.

According to Dr Afzal Hussain Yousuf Ali, consultant cardiologist at the Dubai Heart Centre, Dubai Hospital, the numbers are even worse for expatriates living in the country.

“Almost 80 per cent of the patients who come with heart- related illnesses are from the Indian subcontinent,” said Dr Ali.

Releasing UAE specific details from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study - a worldwide epidemiological study that also included 1,505 participants from the UAE, he said that the large number of patients with uncontrolled blood pressure was indeed a cause for worry.
“The study showed that almost fifty per cent of patients are never detected. Among those receiving treatment - which is just 50 percent of those detected - only 38 per cent had lowered their blood pressure to within normal levels. The remaining 62 per cent remain with high BP despite treatment,” said Ali.

Dr Azzan Bin Braik, consultant cardiologist at Rashid Hospital the number of UAE nationals suffering from hypertension is higher than the world average.

While the world average is just 30 per cent of the population, in the UAE it stood at 41 per cent.

In 2009, the UAE's Ministry of Health had announced that an estimated 36 per cent of the population in the UAE suffered from hypertension and warned that the number of cases involving cardiovascular diseases would multiply three-fold in the region within the next three years.

According to the doctors the number of expatriate patients have also increased during the last two years. “It could be a reflection of an increase in the expat population in the UAE. Other factors such as work related stress, depression and financial losses could also be contributing to the problem,” said Braik.