KUWAIT: A group photo taken during an event organized by Kuwait Heart Foundation to mark the World Heart Day.

By Abdellatif Sharaa

KUWAIT: Heart diseases in Kuwait have been the top cause of deaths during the past 10 years, a physician said. Studies and statistics of the health ministry indicate 42 percent of deaths are due to heart problems, with heart attacks making up the highest percentage of all heart diseases, Deputy Chairman of Kuwait Heart Foundation Dr Mohammad Al-Jarallah said. The study was conducted in cooperation between the health ministry and WHO in 2006. A report on it was published in 2008, showing the incidence of heart diseases among the 2,280 Kuwaiti participants was 2.9 percent.

Kuwait Heart Foundation celebrated World Heart Day on Sept 29 in cooperation with Sabah Al-Ahmad Heart Center, American Heart Association and World Heart Federation. Chairman of Kuwait Heart Foundation Talal Al-Bahar said the foundation this year focused on awareness campaigns on social media due to its wide reach among all groups of the foundation, to make them aware of heart diseases and their dangers. He said the World Heart Federation was keen this year to have the logo of a heart to be sent to as many people as possible to remind them of the importance of heart health and how to safeguard it.

Meanwhile, Dr Jarallah said this year's celebration is part of awareness campaigns to educate people on the dangers of heart diseases, with the slogan "use your heart to connect". He stressed smokers must refrain from this habit, adding this is the first step on the road to heart health, as within the first two years of quitting smoking, the risk of coronary artery disease is reduced significantly. After 15 years, the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases drops to the same level as nonsmokers. Dr Jarallah advised people to maintain the heart's health through exercise and healthy food.

Cardiologist at Sabah Al-Ahmad Heart Center said the main goal behind celebrating World Heart Day is spreading awareness about the risks of heart diseases, as 80 percent of early deaths can be avoided by preventive means. She said this year's slogan - "use your heart to connect" - came about because the coronavirus pandemic brought up the need for alternative means to communicate, so the world resorted to digital technology.

Dashti said statistics indicate that the pandemic caused the death of 4.5 million people around the world, but heart diseases and strokes remain the top cause of deaths around the world (of around 18.5 million individuals) every year, which is 32 percent of total deaths around the world. She said during the coronavirus pandemic, around 520 million individuals suffered from heart diseases. They were affected in various degrees due to losing communication, medical appointments or inability to contact their relatives out of fear of hospital visits, in addition of not being able to exercise, so modern technology will effectively participate in closing this gap, Dashti added.