Even as greater awareness is needed among the public on heart diseases, the causative factors and the preventive measures, the availability of intensive care must also be widespread to save lives, Governor of Maharashtra K. Sankaranarayanan said here on Friday.

Reports from some studies said that in two years 60 per cent of the heart diseases cases in the world would be in India. As the country was the diabetes capital of the world, there must be greater focus on prevention, Mr. Sankaranarayanan said after releasing “Hrudayam Oru Kshetram”, the Malayalam version of “Idhayam Oru Koil”, a book on heart diseases authored by Chairman of K.G. Hospital G. Bakthavathsalam.

Chairman of the CMS Educational and Charitable Trust M.P. Gopalakrishnan received the first copy in the presence of Dr. Bakthavathalam and Chairman and Managing Director of KGISL Limited Ashok Bathavathsalam. Punjabi, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi versions of the book would be brought out, Dr. Bakthavathsalam said.

Mr. Sankaranarayanan pointed out that 50.8 million people in the country were diabetic and most of them were not aware that they had the disease. The lack of awareness posed a serious risk as uncontrolled diabetes could affect the heart and other vital organs.

Therefore, the entire healthcare sector's emphasis must be on spreading greater awareness on the risk factors and on lifestyle and diet modification to prevent heart diseases, Mr. Sankaranarayanan said.

The Governor pointed out that heart diseases are among the major public health challenges facing the country as these affected both the rich and the poor.

A survey done in Maharashtra revealed that even tribals had heart diseases and blood pressure.

The primary long-term strategy should be preventive in nature. The healthcare infrastructure in cities was overburdened and it was inadequate in the rural areas. The infrastructure in Government hospitals should be improved in order to provide advanced medical care to the poor.

As for the other sections, collective efforts should be made by all in the healthcare sector to bring down the cost of treatment.

Explaining the need for versions of the book in more languages, Dr. Bakthavathsalam said people should avoid high-fat food, smoking and consumption of alcohol in order to prevent heart diseases.

Cholesterol blocks in the blood vessels in the heart occurred because of unhealthy diet and the lack of exercise, he said.

Mr. Ashok Bakthavathsalam listed the activities of the K.G. Group in the areas of healthcare, community eye care, information technology and renewable energy generation.

A demonstration on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was also held as part of an awareness programme on heart care.

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