Cardiac healthcare has become a dire issue in Pakistan. Statistics show that the present healthcare system caters to only 33 percent of all heart patients in Pakistan. At a quick glance it seems that the healthcare system needs to step up in its provision of quality cardiac healthcare but a deeper look into the matter reveals that the matter is much more complex than that. A major factor that has contributed to the high frequency of heart patients in Pakistan are the harmful lifestyle choices that are prevalent in Pakistan.
The dangers of smoking are well documented and yet over 40 million men and women in Pakistan engage in the activity with a significant chunk of these being daily smokers. Prolonged smoking can acutely raise the risk of a heart attack and it has been a major why such a large chunk of the population is suffering from heart problems. Obesity has gradually been on the rise in Pakistan and many forecast that in the coming years Pakistan will rank among the top 10 countries with the greatest degree of obesity. This meteoric rise can be attributed to the sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet that many people in Pakistan follow. In the context of heart disease obesity becomes a serious problem as people enter middle age. Obesity greatly increases the risk of heart complications by clogging the walls of the arteries and restricting blood flow to the heart and has thus greatly contributed to the ever-growing number of heart patients in Pakistan. It should not escape mention that there is also a genetic component to the prevalence of heart problems in Pakistan. Owing to their genetic makeup South Asians are more prone to chronic diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. The presence of this genetic component further signifies the need to amend the lifestyle choices that many people currently adhere to.
The question then arises, how can these necessary changes take place? First and foremost, there needs to be an increase in the general level of awareness regarding heart disease. Once people are more informed of the dire consequences of their choices they will be incentivized to cut back on these habits and eventually stop them altogether. Anti-smoking campaigns educating people on how they can gradually wean themselves off smoking can greatly help in this regard. With regards to obesity the need for exercise can be stressed upon, specifically emphasizing how it can go a long way towards reducing the incidence of heart problems. People should also be educated on the presence of the genetic component. While there exists no procedure or treatment to remove this effect, knowledge of the effect will further stress the need to amend current lifestyle choices.
All of this is not to say that the healthcare facilities have no responsibility to shoulder. Heart problems range from the mild to the serious and hence require delicate medical attention. It is then the responsibility of the healthcare system to cater to the needs of its heart patients and provide quality healthcare. Take the example of National Hospital in Lahore. The hospital offers treatments for a wide array of heart problems ranging from angina to heart attacks. It utilizes high quality equipment and employs some of the best cardiologist that Lahore has to offer. This type of quality healthcare needs to be part and parcel of every cardiac healthcare facility. If both the people and the healthcare system can effectively manage their respective responsibilities, then there seems no reason why the current cardiac healthcare crisis should persist