Staying healthy in the UAE: Top UAE cardiologist advises not to ignore signs of chest pain

Natalie Hanson   |   26 - 04 - 2017

We all lead busy and hectic lives that can often lead to small health niggles being attributed to stress, tiredness or sometimes just ignored until they become bigger problems. But one of the country’s top cardiologists has spoken out, warning against the dangers of leaving potential issues untreated, especially when it comes to chest pain.

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Dr Ahmad Edris, Staff Physician of Cardiovascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has said that ‘failure to seek not only immediate medical attention, but also the right type of attention, when experiencing chest pain is one of the primary reasons that patients often do not receive potentially life-saving treatment.’

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Image: Dr Ahmad Edris, Staff Physician of Cardiovascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi

Many people are unaware of this fact, but cardiovascular disease firmly holds its place as the leading cause of death in the UAE, accounting for about one-third of mortalities and striking five to ten years earlier than in the West; a very worrying trend. According to recent data collected from UAE Emergency Rooms, approximately 1 in 5 patients who go to hospital with symptoms of chest pain are found to have an underlying heart condition, such as unstable angina or acute coronary syndrome (the medical term for a heart attack).

This is why Dr Edris is warning against dismissing your chest pain and attempting to continue as normal, saying, ‘what will often happen is people with chest pain will dangerously discount their symptoms as something trivial, or go to their usual healthcare provider, when in fact that facility may not have the specialists nor the faculty required to give them the rapid care they need. However, when it comes to matters of the heart, time is of the essence. If the cause of chest pain is indeed an underlying heart condition, the more time is wasted, the more the heart muscle is compromised.’

So, if you are experiencing chest pain, it is strongly advised to seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Chest pressure (fullness or tightness)
  • Crushing pain radiating to the neck or upper extremities
  • Pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or gets worse with activity
  • Shortness of breath associated with nausea or vomiting

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In the region, to help combat this issue the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi has officially designated Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi as a Chest Pain Centre; therefore, the hospital will treat any patient visiting the Emergency Department with chest pain symptoms. The program gives residents access to specialist acute care, including consultant-level cardiologists available around-the-clock which is a unique service worldwide, and the Clinic is extending its care to the entire region. Patients of the Clinic can benefit from its unique group practice model, which brings together heart specialists across different disciplines all under one roof, so you can be sure that you are being advised of the best course of action for your issue.

So remember, don’t leave your chest pain to chance and get it checked out straight away!