THIS WORLD HEART DAY (SEPTEMBER 29) COULD BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT OUR LIFESTYLES
By Shweta Sharma
Indians have a genetic tendency to develop heart ailments, with increased occurances at a young age; yet many are unaware of the risk and repercussions of the condition. Health experts suggest dance, walking, cycling and swimming as measures to keep cardiovascular conditions at bay.
“More active life style is the best form of preventive correction to avoid cardiac ailments. It is highly recommended to do 150 minutes of physical activity each week to help prevent heart disease,” Neeraj Bhalla, senior consultant and director cardiology at the BLK Super Speciality Hospital, told IANS.
Walking, cycling, dancing or swimming – activities that use larger muscles at low resistance – are good aerobic exercises. But it all depends on individual needs and reciprocation of body, he added.
He said that the most important thing is to lead a least stressful, but active and healthy life.
“It is true that Indians have a genetic predisposition to developing heart diseases and it occurs in them at a much younger age,” Gunjan Kapoor, director of interventional cardiology at Noida’s Jaypee Hospital, told IANS.
“It has also been seen that Indians who have migrated to different countries like the US, Britain and other countries, as also Africa, continue have higher incidence of heart disease compared to natives of that country,” Kapoor added.
Bhalla said many studies have indicated that people of Indian subcontinent origin are not only more prone to cardiovascular diseases (CAD) but also prone to diabetes – one of CAD’s causes.
According to statistics, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in India – accounting for estimated 2.25 million deaths. And it has been estimated that by 2015 the number will rise to 2.94 million.
Experts agree that despite such alarming figures, Indians still remain unaware about the condition and its effects.
Anil Bansal, chief cardiologist at Ghaziabad’s Columbia Asia Hospital, said there is also a “sense of ignorance in the minds of the people”.
He added that education is the “only key to bridge the gap between awareness and knowledge” about cardiovascular diseases.
“We need to make people aware that with some modifications in their lifestyle they can prevent heart diseases. People need to be encouraged to opt for preventive healthcare and avoid visiting a doctor only in the emergency situations,” Bansal told IANS.
Srikanth K.V., senior consultant for interventional cardiology at Bangalore’s Narayana Health City, suggested that awareness drives should be designed according to the target group being focused on.
“If we are talking about young children, then they should be given adequate education at the school level itself. For young adults, social media can be a good option; while for the working population, offices can take certain steps like avoiding snack vending machines and organising camps. Anganwadi workers too can play an essential role,” Srikanth told IANS.
Tapan Ghose, director and head of department cardiology at Gurgaon’s Paras Hospital, attributed the rising incidence to “urbanisation, improper lifestyle and eating habits”.
“Other aspects include obesity, alcoholism, smoking, hypertension and diabetes…A family history of cardiovascular disease is an important factor in the evaluation of a given individual’s cardiovascular risk,” Ghose told IANS.