The major health problem found among people in the 25-45 years age group during the ongoing Kulluna for Healthy Heart campaign is undetected high blood pressure, an official has said.
As many as 55,000 different medical tests for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, heart and cardiovascular diseases have been conducted during the first two weeks of the Kulluna for Healthy Heart campaign being held at the City Center Mall.
The total number of tests is expected to climb up to over 100,000 by the end of the month-long campaign being organised by the Kulluna for Health and Safety - a brainchild of the Hamad Medical Corporation’s Hamad International Training Centre (HITC). The campaign is being held in collaboration with ConocoPhillips Qatar.
Most of the tests being conducted daily on about 1,000 visitors by some 60 HMC staff in a make-shift clinic set up in the mall, cover cholesterol, blood sugar, height, weight, body mass index, electrocardiography (ECG), blood pressure and body composition analysis as well as carbon-dioxide measurement for smokers and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) demo.
The bulk of the cases being detected by the staff at the booth is undetected high blood pressure among people aged 25-45 years constituting some 30% of total number of visitors to the campaign.
“We are half-way through the campaign and we have recorded an increase in the number of people visiting us compared to our previous campaigns. We are receiving an increasing number of people of different nationalities, of different religions and age,” said HITC director Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, who is also the Kulluna co-ordinator.
Workers, who have access to healthcare and hold private health insurance, are also being attracted to the campaign.
According to Saifeldeen, the worrying trend, similar to that seen at the Hamad General Hospital, was that up to 40% of labourers who visited the campaign during the past two weeks were diagnosed with high blood pressure which, he said, if left uncontrolled could lead to heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Qatar.
The official said that some 25% of people checked had undiagnosed high cholesterol while many were also having undiagnosed diabetes with 55% overweight and up to 30% obese.
Some 3,500 people, who were diagnosed with high BP and diabetes, had one-on-one private consultation with a physician on how to follow up at primary healthcare centres on their problems.
A total of 3,500 people each also visited anti-smoking and nutrition sections while some 2,500 sought advise at the “keep fit” booth and about 2,000 people attended a CPR demo, learning tips to save lives.
Saifeldeen, however, said more efforts were still required to drive home the campaign’s message.
“We need to keep the pace to achieve a long-term goals, especially to ensure that non-smokers don’t take to smoking again and also to ensure that many more people start leading a healthy life.”
Heart Hospital Cardiologist consultant Dr Salem Abu Jalalah said that most visitors were not aware of their risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
“These people have been living with the risk factors without knowing it, so we teach them how to deal with the risks and prevent themselves from getting chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension as well as preventing obesity,” Abu Jalalah explained.
He claimed that as a result of the medical team’s intervention, many people decided to change their lifestyle such as quitting smoking, which has a huge impact on their health.
“We have noticed a high prevalence of smoking among young population and we have been able to help some of them change this habit through our talks,” he maintained.
Saifeldeen said the next phase of Kulluna would highlight medical benefits of Ramadan.
He also talked about plans to launch a national initiative on promoting the availability and use of automatic defibrillators in public areas such as shopping malls and towers.
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