Today is World Heart Day and doctors say it’s the best time to give ourselves a heart and be mindful of our lifestyle. It is actually not heartening to note that the incidence of heart attacks among young residents has surged in recent years in the UAE.

But that can be remedied. Highlighting this year’s theme for World Heart Day (celebrated every September 29) 'Use Heart, Know Heart,' UAE cardiologists have shared some practical tips to keep our hearts healthy.

Dr Houssein Ali Mustafa, consultant interventional cardiologist at Saudi German Hospital Dubai, recommended:

Get moving: Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week because doing physical exercise is one of the best ways to support a healthy heart. Exercise also helps manage your weight and stress levels in addition to helping your blood pressure and blood circulation.

  • If you are a smoker, quit smoking now: Tobacco smoking has been proven a major contributor to heart disease over the years
  • Go, visit a dentist: There is evidence that a link exists between your oral health and cardiovascular disease risk. Dental infection, tooth loss and periodontitis have an association with increased risk of arrhythmias, heart failure, stroke and myocardial infarction.
  • Get enough Zzzs: Aim to get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep every night by practicing great sleep pattern, including sleeping in a dark cool room with lower light levels. Switch off screens at least an hour before bedtime and ensure you eat at least three hours before you go to bed. Sleep will help boost metabolic health and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  • Watch your weight: Always remember: An increase in your weight and your waistline both contribute to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Lower stress levels: Excessive stress has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, so avoid it.

Dr. Mohamed Al Gizy, cardiologist at Prime Medical Centre, Rahmania Mall, shared the following additional tips:

  • Start your day right: Have a nutritious breakfast; eat fresh fruit, lean proteins (eggs, yoghurt, and low-fat dairy), and complex whole grains
  • Reduce sugar intake: Take note also that natural and high-quality sweeteners (honey, dark chocolate) are better than refined, processed sweets
  • Stay away from second-hand smoke
  • Control your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar

Dr. Naveed Ahmed, consultant interventional cardiology at Aster Hospital Mankhool, noted: “I've observed an alarming trend of UAE residents experiencing heart attacks in their 30s. This concerning phenomenon is primarily attributed to lifestyle factors, including sedentary habits, unhealthy diets, and increased stress levels. But by making lifestyle adjustments, we can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and promote heart health for everyone.”

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