A report issued by the Health Information and Awareness Center at the Ministry of Health stated, "Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are considered among the most deadly diseases in the world. They take the lives of 17.3 million people every year. This number may increase. In addition, 23 million people are expected to die in 2030 if there are no effective interventions."
The report emphasized, "Following an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use are considered among the main pathogens of cardiovascular diseases. The effects of unhealthy food and physical inactivity in individuals are manifested in high blood pressure, high blood glucose and lipid content, excessive weight gain and obesity."
According to the statistical yearbook of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, heart disease was the cause of 42% of deaths from non-communicable diseases in the Saudi Kingdom during the year 2010.
The report of the Information Center stated that cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. It pointed out that these disorders include:
The report explained, "Heart attacks and strokes are severe events, which are caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common cause of blockage is the formation of fatty deposits in the inner walls of the vessels supplying the heart or brain. Strokes can also be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from a blood clot."
Regarding the most common symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, the report indicated, "There are usually no symptoms that warn of the occurrence of latent diseases affecting the blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first warning of the occurrence of these diseases. Symptoms of a heart attack include: pain in the center of the chest, arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back. Moreover, the patient may experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, cold sweat, or pallor in the face."
The most common symptoms of a stroke, according to the report, are, "Sudden weakness in the face, arm, or leg, which often occurs on one side of the body; a sudden feeling of numbness in the face, arm, or leg, specifically on one side of the body; difficulty speaking or understanding other people's words; difficulty seeing with one or both eyes; difficulty in walking, feeling dizzy, or losing one’s balance; severe headache without any apparent cause; and fainting. People who show these symptoms should seek medical care immediately."