By the year 2025, it is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people, or nearly one in three adults over the age of 25, will have high blood pressure, one of the biggest single risk factors for Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD), the world’s number one killer. High blood pressure and CVD are increasing in prevalence, including among the young, and need immediate action and attention.

World Heart Day 2008, on Sunday September 28th,will be urging people to know their risk of CVD. World Heart Day, a major heart health awareness campaign now in its ninth year, is run by the World Heart Federation’s member organizations in over 100 countries. World Heart Day activities include health checks, organised walks, runs and fitness sessions, public talks, stage shows, scientific forums, exhibitions, concerts, carnivals and sports tournaments.

We, health-care professionals will help to increase awareness and encourage people to take action to reduce CVD, by supporting this year’s World Heart Day and playing a role in the global movement.

Indian Scenario

Cardio vascular diseases have been projected to cause 4.6 million deaths annually in India by the year 2020.High Blood pressure(Hypertension >140/90 mmHg) is directly responsible for 57%of all stroke deaths and 24%of all coronary disease deaths in India at an underestimate, there are 31.5 million hypertensives in rural and 34 million in urban populations.

CAD- Coronary Artery Disease

The Higher pressure in the arteries(i.e Blood vessels) may cause them to weaken and overtime may become hardened. This often occurs as people age. Blood vessel damage is bad because hardened or narrowed arteries may be unable to supply the amount of blood the body’s organs need. This damage may lead to Atheroscelorosis, in which deposits of Cholesterol, fatty substances and blood cells clog up an artery.

“Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks”

High blood pressure coupled with Atherosclerosis increases the workload on the heart leading to thickening of Heart muscle(Hypertrophy). This thickening damages the heart muscle so that it can no longer pump normally.This can lead to a disease called Heart Failure. Your kidneys and eyes may also be damaged.

Modifiable Risk factors and Solutions for Heart diseases

1.Being overweight: Obese patients are at higher risk of hypertension heart diseases. Hence, exercise regularly which helps blood circulation, keeps Blood pressure, Blood cholesterol and Body weight within normal limits

2.Smoking:Along with Hypertension smoking is a major cause of Heart disease. So do yourself a favor and quit smoking

3..High fat/High Sugar(Diabetes),/High salt diet: This aggravates Atherosclerosis along with Hypertension.

So your diet should be low in fat, cholesterol, red meat and sweets. Have more fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grain products and low fat dairy products.

Non modifiable Risk factors for Heart diseases

Gender: Males have a greater chance of developing heart disease than women until age 55.However after the age of 75,women are more likely to develop heart diseases comparable to men.

Heredity: If your parents had Heart diseases and Hypertension, you are more at risk.

Age: The older you get, the more likely you are to develop cardiovascular diseases.

Get head start in Heart Disease

Heart disease affects the Quality of life millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of death. The development of most heart disease is related to the way we live. Changing to a healthier life style will help prevent both new and repeat heart problems.

A family history of heart disease is an important risk factor. If members of your family have had heart disease. It is especially important for you to try reduce other risks and visit your Consultant Cardiologist periodically.

It is far better to change things in small, permanent steps than try to do too much and fall.

In the treatment of heart disease alone non-compliance with drug regimens and inability to change life style is believed to cause as many as

125,000 avoidable deaths(Source:McCarthy Business Health 2004)

Compliance to Cardiolgist’s advice is cost effective because the cost of treating cardiovascular disease that may arise from non compliance is substantially higher than the Cost of Preventing the Disease.(Rizzo & Simmons Clinical Therapeutics).

On this World heart day we urge upon every adult above age 25.

To Know Your Risk &

Prevent Heart Disease:

It has to be reinforced that heart disease requires to be treated for life to provide a life that is fulfilling and of good quality. Please remember that apart from medications, there is every need to follow certain life style changes e.g Dietary restrictions, Weight reduction, Appropriate exercises etc.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Dr. R. Sivakumar

MD DNB(Cardio)

Senior Consultant/Interventional Cardiologist

Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre