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Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths in Cuba, claiming over 20,000 lives each year, an expert said here Friday.

Marking World Heart Day, which is held each year on Sept. 28, Eduardo Rivas, president of the Cuban Society of Cardiology, told reporters that problems with coronary arteries cause 80 percent of the deaths from heart failures, mainly due to acute cardiac strokes.

Rivas warned a growing number of young Cubans are suffering from these ailments and called for preventive measures to reduce the impact of cardiovascular diseases on Cuba's work force.

Rivas also heads a national program for cardiac rehabilitation, which offers patients preventive and rehabilitative services.

In addition to controlling chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, the expert stressed the importance of physical exercise, healthy diet and maintaining proper weight.


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