Riyadh: One in four adults in Saudi Arabia is set to have a heart attack within the next 10 years, reveals new research.
Presented at the 26th annual conference of the Saudi Heart Association (SHA) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week, the study investigated the prevalence of risk factors for heart disease in more than 4,900 Saudis living in urban areas who were over 20-year-old had no history of heart disease.
Their 10 year risk of a heart attack or death from a heart attack was calculated using the Framingham Risk Score -- a sex-specific algorithm used to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk of an individual.
"The majority of people we studied were between 20 and 40 years 26 percent were at high risk of a heart attack or death from a heart attack in 10 years. Unhealthy lifestyles start at a young age in the Gulf and people reap the consequences early in life," explained Muhammad Adil Soofi, assistant consultant in adult cardiology at Prince Salman Heart Centre, King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh.
Most people in the study (85 percent) were less than 40-year-old and 55 percent were women.
The researchers found that 25 percent had diabetes, 34 percent had hypertension, 25 percent were smokers, 27 percent were obese, 86 percent were not involved in any physical exercise and 19 percent had dyslipidemia.
As a result of the high level of risk factors, 26 percent of participants were at high risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack in 10 years.
Diabetes had a major impact on risk.
"Diabetes doesn't occur in isolation. Diabetic individuals had a significantly increased prevalence of other risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, smoking and dyslipidemia," Soofi added.
According to him, urbanisation, lack of education and westernisation could be to blame for the unhealthy lifestyles of young Saudis.
"They eat more fast food and deep fried items and on top of that do not exercise," he noted.