The president of the Turkish Cardiology Association, Professor Lale Tokgözoğlu, said yesterday that the lifestyles Turkish citizens lead tire their hearts much earlier than those of the rest of Europe, warning against prevalent smoking, lack of sports and the risk posed by obesity.
Speaking at a press conference, Tokgözoğlu said Turkish citizens needed to alter their life styles immediately, adding that if they do not, the current 1.5 million cardiac failure patients could rise to 9 million in a decade. She also said heart disease among people on average developed 10 years earlier in Turkey than in Europe.
She said the number of cardiac failure patients in Europe is 15 million, while it is 6 million in the U.S., arguing that the rising number of elderly would cause a dramatic increase in the number of patients in Turkey in the medium-term. "Currently, 9 million people in Turkey are faced with the risk of developing heart diseases, with one-third expected in the near future," she said.
Life expectancy for heart patients was much lower than most cancer patients, she noted, adding that the cost to the health sector was huge.
Cardiologist Professor Adnan Abacı, who also spoke at the same press conference, said 20 percent of heart patients and almost half of heart failure patients died within a year, adding that their efforts were focused on early diagnosis and treatment to save lives. "We also ask patients to alter their lifestyles," he said.
Bekir Keskinkılıç, the vice president of the Health Ministry's Public Health Institution of Turkey, said the state was cooperating with the Turkish Cardiology Association to raise awareness of the fact that tobacco and alcohol use, obesity and lack of exercise are the main causes behind heart disease. Keskinkılıç said the rate of smoking among the youth is high and the benefits of sports is still not properly understood.
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