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Times of India
28 September 2011
By , Sumitra Deb Roy
Lucknow , India

World Heart Day Special
Reports published in various health journals warning that ‘India is virtually sitting on a heart disease time–bomb’ are not plain words. And if the city’s heart disease situation is anything to go by, then the scenario could be scary in the days to come. According to the data gathered from Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University’s cardiology department, there has been a 150% rise in the patient burden.

Heart Ailments up 150% in City The Disease Grips Indians 10 Years Earlier Than Westerners
The average OPD attendance at Lari Cardiology in 2001 was 100 patients per day. In 2011, the number is between 250 and 275. Mathematically, this means that there has been a 150% rise in the number of patients reporting at OPD. The number of patients needing admission has also gone up from 2,500 in 2001 to 4,000 in 2011. About 80% of the patients admitted to the centre are serious and undergo emergency angioplasty to survive.

“Though the findings don’t come from a proper planned study, they are strong enough to suggest the need to act right now,” said Prof RK Saran, head of the cardiology department. Talking to TOI, two days ahead of World Heart Day (September 29), he reminded that Indians are genetically vulnerable to heart diseases at least 10 years earlier than those in the West. “The agegroup of our patients is 45–55 years against the range of 55–70 years in the west,” he said.

Prevalence studies show that 10% of urban population and 5% rural population suffer from heart diseases in the country, the average being 12.5%. In case of UP, whose population is 19.96 crore, the state’s heart disease burden could be roughly estimated to be at 2.49 crore.

World Health Organisation shows that a large number of patients hail from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and cannot afford treatment.

A multi–centric study released in 2010 with Lucknow as a centre said that nearly 40% of Indians are found to be highly or at least moderately at risk of heart disease, at least one member of 11% Indian households is already afflicted. Not only this, the study said that those who work for more than nine hours a day in a high–pressure job need to specially watch out.

Cardiologists across the country emphasise on a twin strategy focusing prevention of disease and building more centres to attend cases of heart attack. The reason: timely intervention could be life saving in management of cardiac arrest. It not only saves life, but also trims chances of post–survival complications. An Indo–Canadian study says that on an average, it takes 300 minutes to reach a hospital in India, which is more than twice the response time in developed nations. Ideal time to make intervention is 60 minutes.

WHY ACT NOW? 1 If you are in mid–20s, start now to avert a cardiac arrest in later years 2 The reason is that eight out of ten risk factors that may cause heart diseases do not have clear symptoms. They start in early years and show up when the damage has been done 3 Experts recommend that check–up for heart diseases must begin at the age of 25. If all parameters are under control, then tests must be repeated after every fi ve years

Risk indicators
High blood pressure Body mass index Abdominal circumference Blood sugar levels during fasts Lipid profi le Lifestyle. Eg: smoker or non–smoker, physical exercises or not Family history of cardiac diseases

For a healthy heart
Keeping body weight under control is essential to reduce chances of heart diseases. Eat less and walk more is the golden rule Apart from avoiding fatty and high–sugar food, one must eat 20–30% less than the usual intake to keep body weight under control
Rule for total health
Eat at least 500 grams of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday
Do 30 minutes of brisk walking for five days a week
Do not consume more than five grams of salt per day
Avoid more than 500 grams of visible fat in a month
Source: Cardiology department, CSMMU

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