How to have a healthy heart ?

credit; 03info

The cardiovascular diseases have been globally claimed as major cause of death. Even as earlier killer diseases were successfully controlled, rapidly changing life styles have contributed to the increased incidence of heart disease. Medical science has contributed a lot towards reducing the disease and suffering by spectacular efforts of physicians and technology. Billions of dollars have been spent on research in heart disease but areas of ignorance also grow proportionately with the new knowledge.

Ideal solution remains prevention of heart disease by combining ancient wisdom with the latest knowledge of cardiac science. Unfortunately prevention receives much less attention. It is also true that despite aggressive control of risk factors in the general population, it is not possible to prevent coronary artery disease in all patients. It is, therefore, necessary that people know simple facts about the heart disease in their language. As Julius Comroe had said long time back that the doctors need to be bi-lingual, scientific for journals and scientific discussions but they should use simple language for public, medical terms in these articles have been simplified in everyday language of the readers.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) like hypertension or High B.P, coronary artery disease and stroke are amongst the most common causes of death worldwide. CVDs are the number one cause of death globally with an estimated 17.5 million deaths in 2012, representing 31% of all deaths as per WHO. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke.

Life style changes that affect the coronary artery disease can be classified into six stages of human development indices; increasing affluence or per capita income; increasing life expectancy, urbanization, increased intake of saturated fats, salt and smoking. Industrialization and globalization have resulted in enhancing these risk factors. We see an increase in stress levels, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and diabetes. Pressure to succeed in society too has emerged as an important risk factor. These risk factors often work in combination rather than in isolation.

There is further bad news for Indians. Indians are especially vulnerable to heart attacks as revealed by studies from several countries like Canada and United Kingdom that show a 1.5 to 8 fold excess risk of deaths due to coronary artery disease amongst populations of Indian origin compared to native population. Much of this is in younger age group and often the disease is in severe form. High costs of technology intensive diagnosis and treatment is unaffordable to those without an insurance cover and may be one reason for even under reporting of the disease at present.

credit; newhealthguide

Risk factors for heart disease:

1. Family history of Coronary heart disease or Stroke

2. Family history of Hypertension,Diabetes mellitus,Premature Deaths

3. Type A Personality; High Stress at Work place or Home

4. Smoking

5. Abdominal Obesity

6. Hypertension

7. Diabetes, Hyperlipidemias or Bad Profile of Fats in the blood stream

Another risk factor is Sedentary Lifestyle, which leads to obesity, Diabetes, hypertension and bad dietary habits!

Without adding to the anxiety or panic, I hasten to share good news about CAD. There has been marked reduction in the incidence of coronary artery disease in the USA during last two decades or so. This decline has been possible due to a concerted effort to control the risk factors and community based programs that influence life styles like diet, physical activity and exercise, cessation of smoking, control and treatment of high blood pressure. Stress management, Gyms, meditation and Yoga have become a common feature in many work places. Readers should only benefit in knowing what are the common risk factors, how one can identify existing heart disease and prevent heart attacks. Readers will also appreciate that the facts presented are in a general population and there are wide individual variations.

We will talk more about Coronary Artery Disease, symptoms, diagnostics and treatment in future articles. We will also talk about preventive cardiology to try and answer some of the most commonly asked questions on heart disease…

  • Written byDr Ratna Magotra

    Dr. Ratna Magotra is former Professor and Chief Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, KEM Hospital, Mumbai. She’s currently Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Smt. S R Mehta & Sir K P Cardiac Institute, Mumbai, Trustee and Honorary Director of Cardiac Services, Gram Seva Trust, Kharel (Navsari District, Gujarat) working with marginalised communities. Trustee, Public Concern for Governance Trust, Mumbai



    Comment: Good article and awareness brought about. Thank you Dr Ratna



    Comment: Prevention is always better so very important message to youths as non communicable diseases are going to increase. Dr Ashwin Shah



    Comment: Looking forward to reading more details!



    Comment: Very nice article.great job Ratna.



    Comment: Thanks for the mail. Very simple and lucid explanation even to a layman. The patient will be half-cured after reading it. "Indians are especially vulnerable to heart attacks..."Why? May please be explained in your next article.


    Also post on Facebook

    Recently Commented

    Letting Go: Why it’s Necessary to Evolve

    I loved reading this.Growing up with Erica I got to see a very small part of this, I could never see it taking toll but it does and did. I love you for sharing this! You inspire me to let go of the negative vibes that come around.

    Shakespeare’s talented sister

    This is certainly a wonderful concise piece on feminism and on Virginia Woolf's life which makes us understand her life and perspective very clearly.

    The Guardian Deities of Tamil Nadu- lesser know deities of Hinduism

    Wow. You have done good background work to collect these details. Good write up in the area which is usually over looked by non tamils who visit tamilnadu.

    Dealing with the Empty Nest Syndrome

    Very beautifully written! We all go through similar emotions when our kids move out . The degree of missing them varies depending on the bond between the parents and the children. It is surely wise to cherish the new found free time by keeping oneself occupied with ones long lost hobbies and more quality time between the parents. Maybe give more time to ones aging parents who too must be missing us ! Meditation and Yoga does the magic trick too !

    Related Articles

    Your personal Style at Work- Is it authentic enough?
    How to Make a Pimple Go Away Fast
    Skin Care Packaging Matters: Why You Should Ditch Jars
    How to Treat Teen Acne- all you need to know
    Does Stress cause Acne – Does Being Frazzled Cause Bumps and Breakouts?