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More Than Half Of Gulf Population Suffering From Abnormal Cholesterol Levels, Increasing Risk Of Heart Diseases

The growing incidence of heart diseases, which is ranked as the number one cause of death in the Gulf States, formed the basis for the first joint meeting recently between the Emirates Cardiac Society and the American College of Cardiology, at the Murooj Rotana Hotel in Dubai. Recent studies show that more than half of the population in the Gulf states suffers from abnormal cholesterol levels, a quarter has high blood pressure and 15 -25 per cent have diabetes. These numbers coupled with a rapid increase in the rate of obesity adds up to alarming statistics. The joint meeting, which was held under the theme “Cardiovascular Care”, hosted several distinguished doctors from the region and from the American College of Cardiology who delivered a series of informative lectures about various aspects of cardiovascular health. The meeting began with the AstraZeneca Satellite Symposium. Among the topics discussed at the symposium were the “CEPHEUS” research project and the future of cardiovascular disease prevention. “CEPHEUS” is a large research program involving 5,300 patients across the Gulf who are currently treated for high cholesterol levels. The project was launched last November by the Emirates Cardiac Society in collaboration with AstraZeneca, an Anglo/Swedish biopharmaceutical company, which was also the part sponsor of the joint meeting. The main aim of this project is to monitor the percentage of patients who reach their cholesterol level treatment goal while taking cholesterol lowering medications. A similar study was previously conducted in Europe with results showing that 45 per cent of patients, in spite of being on a cholesterol lowering treatment, are not at their cholesterol goal, putting them at higher risk of heart disease. Results from the Gulf “CEPHEUS” project is scheduled to be available later this year. “We are keen to facilitate joint initiatives between professional organizations and believe that exchange of knowledge is key to improving the quality of cardiac care,” said Tarek Rabah, President of AstraZeneca Gulf. Dr. Anthony N. DeMaria, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stressed on the increasing burden of heart diseases worldwide. “In India, more people are dying from atherosclerosis of heart disease than of infectious diseases,” he pointed out. Dr. Richard Conti, Professor of Medicine, University of Florida, added that every cardiologist should be aggressive in treating cholesterol as a main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and target LDL levels of 70 mg/dL. Sessions on cardiac infarction and treatment, cholesterol management guidelines and general cardiology were also conducted as part of the recent meeting. The American College of Cardiology is a thriving, international organization founded in 1949. Its mission is to advocate for quality cardiovascular care—through education, research promotion, development and application of standards and guidelines—and to influence health care policy. The Emirates Cardiac Society is a well-established society that works as a network of cardiologists in the UAE. Its mission is to educate public and medical care professionals to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases in the UAE. Emirates Cardiac Society promotes health education within the community, raising awareness of health issues among the wider population and establishes strong partnership with national and international health agencies and establishments.

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