European cardiac society seeks growth in Middle East

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) is producing a one-day program in conjunction with the Saudi Heart Association (SHA) at its annual meeting in Riyadh on 21-24 February.

This is part of an effort by ESC to extend its scientific activities beyond Europe and by SHA to develop programs to increase awareness of heart disease and develop prevention programs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 60% of men and up to 70% of women are overweight in Arab countries. WHO also reports that about 25% of the population has diabetes and hypertension.

Cigarette smoking and use of the waterpipe, or hookah, also are increasing the risk of heart disease. The SHA estimates that up to 34% of Middle Eastern adolescents are using the hookah. A study conducted by the Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events of 6,700 acute coronary patients from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen found that waterpipe smokers were older than cigarette smokers and were more likely to be female. A single waterpipe use might produce about 50,000 mL of smoke, compared with a cigarette producing 500-600 mL of smoke.

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