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President emphasises dietary, lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular diseases

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi – stressing a preventive rather than curative approach – said on Friday that dietary and lifestyle changes could prevent non-communicable diseases such as heart ailments and strokes.

In his video-link address to the 12th biennial conference of the Pakistan Society of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, held in Peshawar, he said preventive measures not only decreased the risk of disease but also reduced the burden on the national healthcare system.

President Alvi said cardiovascular diseases were also being diagnosed in young people and mentioned that the lengthy treatment and surgery of cardiac diseases have become unaffordable for patients. Therefore, he said, consuming a healthy diet and quitting a sedentary lifestyle and smoking have positive effects on the control of cardiac diseases, the official news agency reported.

He recalled that the country made relentless and coordinated efforts to manage the Covid-19 pandemic extremely well. He emphasised adopting similar passion and targeted action to prioritise the prevention of CVDs.

The president stressed investment in the training and professional development of healthcare practitioners specialised in cardiovascular and thoracic care.

He highlighted the importance of telemedicine and technology to facilitate remote consultations, diagnostics, and monitoring. This, he said, would be especially crucial for patients in remote and rural areas of the country who faced challenges in reaching out to healthcare facilities.

He said cases of malnutrition and obesity were being reported in the country side by side and termed it the responsibility of the state to raise awareness about the intake of healthy diet instead of junk food.

Besides practising their curative medicine, Dr Alvi urged the doctors and medical practitioners to make a service to society by encouraging preventive care and convincing the general public to adopt the routine of walk and specific exercises.

The president also spoke about mental stress in society and said an overall 24 percent population suffers from it and around 60-80 percent of students of higher studies deal with it. In this regard, he suggested a helpline that could provide assistance to people in need by filtering them through artificial intelligence.

Peshawar Institute of Cardiology CEO and convener of the conference Prof Dr Shahkar Ahmed Shah said PIC was providing healthcare services being the first state-of-the-art public hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the first to attain ISO certification. He said the graduate surgeons from PIC would play an important role in the healthcare system of the province and across the country.

Pakistan Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons (PACVTS) President Prof Dr Aftab Yunus, Patron of 12th Biennial PACVTS Prof Dr Mohammad Rehman and medical practitioners attended the conference.

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