8 May 2006

Australian cardiologist warns heart diseases in Samoa will reach epidemic prop0rtions

8:09 am on 8 May 2006

A top Australian cardiologist has warned that the number of heart diseases in Samoa will reach epidemic proportions.

Dr Warren Walsh, who is visiting Samoa, says there will come a time when the Government will no longer be able to afford treatment.

And, he says heart cases will reach a point where government will not be able to send patients to New Zealand to have heart surgery.

Dr Walsh says lifestyle choices are the main cause of heart problems in the country.

He says the risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and physical inactivity.

Dr Walsh says there's less physical activity, people are driving cars but aren't working in the plantations like they used to.

Traditional diets heavy in fruit, fish and other staple have been replaced by high fat food which causes obesity and blocks the artery.

The visiting cardiologist says Samoa has to do more to prevent heart diseases.

He recommends increased awareness programs to educate the public about what to avoid to prevent heart problems.

Another prevention method that authorities should consider is to increase tobacco tax and ban smoking in restaurants and bars.