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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Heart failure is a serious health problem in Middle East: Report

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Muscat: Approximately 1 in 5 people in the general population after 40 years of age in the Middle East is expected to develop heart failure (HF) at some point in their lifetime, this was revealed by the Saudi Hearth Association.


The report said that Heart failure is a serious and growing health problem across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), where prevalence is markedly higher than the global average.


In an effort to improve this outlook, an assembly of experts from across the region has been discussing ways to address the increasing burden of heart failure based on their real-world, professional experiences.


The results of this meeting were published in a paper in the Journal of the Saudi Heart Association, co-authored by the participants of the assembly. The paper highlights the gaps identified by the expert group and lays out their recommendations on how to reverse current trajectories by urgently improving awareness, diagnosis, and prevention of heart failure in MEA.


Heart failure is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and considerably impacts patients’ quality of life


The average age a person will develop heart failure in the MEA region is significantly lower than elsewhere: Africa (53 years), the Middle East (56.4 years), North


Africa (58.79 years), Asia (60 years), and Europe (70 years)


• Heart failure incurs a substantial economic burden in the MEA region (total estimated costs is the US $1.92 Billion), with recurrent hospitalizations accounting for


the bulk of the cost


Risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, smoking, and socioeconomic transition, as well as a marked increased intake of fatty foods and physical inactivity, contribute to the


higher prevalence of heart failure in the region.


Lack of community-level awareness and high prevalence of associated conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, compounded by poor accessibility and


affordability of healthcare is a major barrier to the prevention of heart failure in the region.


Shortage of robust regional databases or registries and under-representation of the MEA regions in research studies are barriers to identifying the real-world burden of


heart failure, hindering prevention strategies


In some countries, the high prevalence of existing infectious diseases such as tuberculosis shifts the focus from non-communicable diseases, leading to a lack of


support for the implementation of heart failure awareness programs.


The wide variations in epidemiology, risk factors, clinical interventions, and availability of resources across geographies warrant better insights into the region-specific practices.


There is a paucity of region-specific guidelines that would provide a blueprint of care and the scarcity of specifically trained care workers reduces the region's ability for early


detection of at-risk patients.


Recommendations


• Prioritise heart failure and its associated comorbidities, such as chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes, alongside other infectious diseases


• Develop region-specific guidelines on heart failure and monitor their implementation.


• Create local registries to increase the available data on heart failure.


• Train health workers in the early identification of high-risk patients, such as people.


with hypertension and ischemic heart disease.


• Improve access to advanced diagnostics and train primary care health workers to use the available technology.


Meanwhile, a physical activity and community health course organized by the Oman Olympic Academy (OOA), will start tomorrow on Monday and will continue until next Wednesday, as part of the Academy's interest in engaging all groups, including specialists and workers in the health and physical fields.


The establishment of this course is due to the increasing incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases), which are the leading cause of death in the world, with physical inactivity being the fourth leading risk factor for premature death globally.


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