Heart patients urged to monitor blood pressure during Ramadan
Heart patients have been advised to monitor their blood pressure and reduce the intake of salt and fatty foods during the holy month of Ramadan.
Dr. Khalid Al-Nimeir, an eminent cardiologist, warned callers of the Hello Ramadan phone-in program that blood pressure tends to drop during fasting.
“Blood pressure therefore has to be carefully monitored,” he said, pointing out that cardiac patients should fast only upon medical advice.
He added that fasting reduces bad cholesterol in the body.
“Patients should take in small meals frequently during the non-fasting period,” said Al-Nimeri.
He also said patients who are taking medicine for hypertension should not take their medication immediately after iftar.
“These patients should take preventive measures to ensure they do not suffer heart attack or stroke,” he said, adding that they should not expose themselves to summer heat and quit smoking.
The Hello Ramadan program was launched on Sunday for the tenth consecutive year to answer inquiries from the public regarding various health problems they encounter during the holy month of Ramadan.
The program, entitled “Your Health in Ramadan,” kicked off on the first day of the holy month.
The program seeks to assist Muslims across the Kingdom in understanding any medical problems they might encounter during Ramadan.
The year, the program is focused on ensuring Muslims maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle and will stress the importance of taking prescribed doses of medication in a timely manner during the holy month.
The service is available on toll free number 800 249 4444. The service is available in Arabic and is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.
A panel of specialist doctors in various fields will answer questions from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays throughout the month.
Physicians will also interact with the public through social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Ministry of Health had earlier warned residents to beware of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and urged them to take extra precautions to combat the illness, which has been on the rise in the Kingdom.
Heart disease was the cause of 42 percent of deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the Kingdom for the year 2010.
According to a report released by the Information Center at the Ministry of Health, cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is considered one of the most deadly diseases in the world, claiming the lives of 17.3 million people each year.
This figure is likely to reach 23 million people in 2030 if no effective interventions are found.
The report stressed that “unhealthy dieting, lack of physical activity and the use of tobacco are considered the leading risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. The other causes for heart diseases include hypertension, diabetes and obesity.”
Cardiovascular diseases can affect people of all ages and population groups, including women and children.
However, their risk can be controlled, treated or modified through everyday heart-healthy behaviors, such as eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise and avoiding the use of tobacco.