A woman does exercise. Doctors warn that lack of regular exercise is the lead cause of cardiovascular diseases. (Net)

A woman does exercise. Doctors warn that lack of regular exercise is the lead cause of cardiovascular diseases. (Net)

Habits such as smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and limited exercise are contributing to variety of cardiovascular diseases, according to medics.

Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi, a cardiologist at King Faisal Hospital, said, currently, many people prone to cardiovascular diseases are not engaging in enough exercises, let alone observing healthy diets.

?People nowadays pack all sorts of unhealthy foods filled with fats and high sugar content into their stomach with little attention to the effects. This kind of eating, combined with our limited physical activity, is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases,? Dr Mucumbitsi said.

The cardiologist, who was speaking to Saturday Times, on Thursday, added that other habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption were predisposing factors to cardiovascular diseases and cautioned individuals on passive smoking as being more dangerous than the active form.

?More than 5,000 cases of cardiovascular diseases resulting from smoking are from passive smoking, but individuals who consume alcohol are not any better,? Dr Mucumbitsi said.

Globally, heart diseases and stroke claim more lives than any other disease and estimates from the World Health Organisation show that 17.5 million people died from cardiovascuar diseases in 2012, representing 31 per cent of all global deaths.

Of all the deaths, 7.4 million died from coronary heart disease while 6.7 million succumbed to stroke.

But of the 16 million deaths under the age of 70 due to non-communicable diseases, 82 per cent were in low and middle income countries of which 37 per are caused by cardiovascular diseases.

In Rwanda, cardiovascular diseases account for an estimated 29 per cent of all mortality according to 2008 figures, with the most prevalent being cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 12 per cent of total deaths across all age groups.

Despite about 60 to 70 people receiving heart operations annually at King Faisal Hospital, experts believe that most people may not find their way to hospitals.

?These are figures we know from people who reach the hospital, but remember, a heart attack, if not attended to, can kill within six hours, hence those who don?t make it to hospital most likely die,? Dr Mucumbitsi said.

Organised under the theme; ?Creating heart healthy environment,? the World Heart Day will be combined with the Physiotherapy Day and will include a walk from Amahoro Stadium to Kigali Business Centre at 8am.

Cardio diseases and physiotherapy

Studies have shown that cardiovascular diseases are common in individuals who engage in limited exercise and experts warn that this kind of lifestyle eventually has negative effects on the economy.

Dr Damascene Gasherebuka, the president of the Rwanda Physiotherapy Association, said time and money are wasted when people are hospitalised as a result of diseases associated with limited physical activity.

?When you are hospitalised, you become less productive, spend more money in addition to the inconvenience caused,? Gasherebuka said.

?If you want to remain healthy, you must keep walking throughout your life. Regular exercisest are recommended as good for your health,? Gasherebuka said.

By Solomon Asaba, The New Times

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