BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Health is seeing an increase in deaths caused by heart disease among those under 75, the minister of health noted in his World Heart Day address.

“This is a worrying trend. The ministry [has also observed] an increasing number of younger patients showing symptoms of heart disease… Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, is Brunei’s number two killer, making up 29 percent of all deaths [last year],”  YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said.

He added that forty percent of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases in 2017 comprised those between ages 35 and 64.

On a global scale, more than 17 million people die each year due to cardiovascular diseases including stroke and heart disease. This number is expected to rise to 23 million by year 2030.

Therefore, preventive efforts need to be ramped up by committing to a healthier lifestyle, the minister said. “In Brunei, the main risk factors include sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.”

By observing World Heart Day, the ministry hopes it will raise awareness on heart disease and act as a reminder that cardiovascular diseases are preventable.

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“Today [September 29], in conjunction with World Heart Day, I urge everyone to take a pledge to make healthier choices,” YB Dato Dr Md Isham said.

A member the public getting a free health screening at the World Heart Day exhibition. Photo: Hadthiah Hazair/ The Scoop

The Ministry of Health celebrated the World Heart Day on Saturday morning with a mini health exhibition at the Airport Mall. The one-day exhibit acts as a platform where the public can get more information about cardiovascular diseases.

At the 14th Legislative Council meeting in March this year, YB Dato Dr Md Isham said that one of the main focus for the ministry’s $345 million budget will be on reducing non-communicable diseases.

World Heart Day, founded by the World Heart Federation, is celebrated on September 29 and is a global campaign to remind people to be mindful of their heart health and encourage heart-healthy living. This year’s celebration carries the theme “My Heart, Your Heart”.