Is there an age for CVD?
The short answer is ‘no’. Contrary to popular belief, it is not only the old and debilitated who are at risk of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke. Evidence shows that people, especially in the Gulf, are now getting sick at younger ages. It is no longer just frail old men who are lying in hospital beds paralyzed after suffering from a bleed in the brain.
But why are the people who should be the healthiest in society getting so seriously sick? It’s all about the abundance of risk factors as a result of the unhealthy lifestyle we are living. The stressful work life many of us lead is one of the causes: long working hours, unfairness in the workplace, job strain and high psychological demands all contribute to heart disease at a younger age.
Our dietary habits are also skewed towards the unhealthy: many people skip breakfast and rely on fast food snacks to get them through the day. In some areas, more than half the population eats snacks, fatty and salty food every single day. That, coupled with the low rates of physical activity and very little exercise, is a recipe for disaster. Another habit that is common among younger people and a risk factor for heart disease and stroke is smoking. You don’t need statistics to see how common this is; just look around you!
All these things are making it more and more common for people to suffer – and even die – from cardiovascular disease at a much younger age. But the good thing is that most if not all of these things can be fixed. Eating healthy, becoming more physically active and stopping smoking are all easy ways to avoid getting sick, and entering old age with style.
Alshaikh et al. BMC Public Health (2017) 17:536 DOI 10.1186/s12889-017-4331-7 Aljefree, N. and Ahmed, F., (2015). Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease and Associated Risk Factors among Adult Population in the Gulf Region: A Systematic Review. Advances in Public Health, Volume 2015, Article ID 235101, 23 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/235101. Hindawi Publishing Corporation Piepoli et al, (2016). 2016 European guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice. European Heart Journal (2016) 37, 2315–2381,doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehw106