WKND Conversations: How to keep your heart healthy and happy

The latest edition brought together medical experts and influential voices to raise awareness on heart health, ahead of World Heart Day


Somya Mehta

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(from left to right) Dr Khaldoun Taha, Dr Syed Sakib Nazir, Hannah Philips, and Pamala Serena Rull
(from left to right) Dr Khaldoun Taha, Dr Syed Sakib Nazir, Hannah Philips, and Pamala Serena Rull

Published: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 11:13 PM

The recent edition of wknd. conversations, in partnership with Fakeeh University Hospital, gathered medical professionals, survivors and fitness experts ahead of World Heart Day, to spotlight the importance of nurturing a healthy heart. The event that took place on September 29 aimed to raise awareness on how matters of heart are no longer restricted to a certain age category and why people as young as in their 20s should pay heed to this cause.

Before the panel discussions, Bhawana Sahu, marketing manager, Fakeeh University Hospital, addressed the audience members to introduce the medical facility’s new healthcare initiative, keeping in line with its ‘Made for Dubai’ care provision focused on three strong pillars: Technology-based care, healing environment, and academic-driven approach.

Bhawana Sahu
Bhawana Sahu

Earlier, one would associate heart health only as a condition that senior citizens needed to be mindful of. With more and more cases of public personalities as young as 30-year-olds suffering heart attack, World Heart Day is a stark reminder that everyone needs to talk about heart health and make conscious efforts to take better care of themselves. For the first panel, we had leading cardiologists from Fakeeh University Hospital, Dr Khaldoun Taha, and Dr Syed Sakib Nazir, alongside mindfulness coach, Hannah Philips, and reigning Mrs Universe Dubai 2021, Pamala Serena Rull.

Dr Nazir, specialist interventional cardiologist, addressed the rapid change in pace the current generation is experience in terms of daily activities and long-term goals. “We live in an ultra-modern world, we want to work fast, eat fast, sleep less and spend more time on our screens. In the process, we’re forgetting that we need to nurture the inner being.”

To this, Rull, who’s also a heart attack survivor, added, “The food we consume is mixed with a lot of preservatives. It’s not as healthy as it used to be. There are campaigns now that are educating people regarding this but there’s still a long way to go.”

The level of stress the younger generations are experiences is also much higher than previous generations, mentioned Dr Nazir. “This can also lead to unhealthy eating patterns. The younger generations are consuming more refined foods and they don’t sleep well. Seven hours of sleep is a must for good heart and health,” added Dr Nazir.

Philips, who’s a wellness coach, spotlighted the importance of taking small, conscious steps towards better health. “You don’t need something absolutely drastic to change your life. There are small steps you can take like stopping and breathing for five minutes, going for a walk after you’ve eaten some food,” said Philips.

Dr Taha, who’s a consultant cardiologist, addressed the need for early health screenings. “Most of the risk factors that we face are silent, that’s why we call heart attack the ‘silent killer’. Blood pressure and cholesterol are just numbers, if you don’t check it, you will never find out what the problem is,” he added.

The second panel focused on specific ways to ensure your heart health is not compromised. The panel comprised Dr Alaedin Eltom, interventional cardiologist, Fakeeh University Hospital along with Tam Khan, fitness influencer and Suhan Khan, fitness expert and personal trainer.

(from left to right) Suhan Khan, Tam Khan, and Dr Alaedin Eltom
(from left to right) Suhan Khan, Tam Khan, and Dr Alaedin Eltom

The responsibility towards educating the youth about the importance of health lies heavily on adults, mentioned Tam. “Especially now that children use social media a lot, we must find ways to reach them and raise awareness about these lifestyle concerns. We can use this to our advantage by asking influential social media stars who our children watch daily, to promote this way of life,” he added.

To this, Dr Eltom added, “I can’t stress on the importance of education enough. You have to educate yourself about diet and exercise. Everyone has a specific dietary requirement, which is dictated by your gender, age, height amid other factors. You have to be aware of these aspects and start from there,” said the cardiologist. “It’s very important to get professional guidance before you start any sort of fitness regime. You can’t start straining your body from the start, lifting heavy weights. You need to build the strength over time,” added Suhan.

Dr Fatih Mehmet Gul
Dr Fatih Mehmet Gul

The event was concluded with a closing note by Dr Fatih Mehmet Gul, CEO Fakeeh University Hospital, followed by lunch that was served at Fakeeh University Hospital dining hall. The guests went home with a Dh300 voucher for heart screening to be availed at the medical facility.


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