Heart disease affecting young Indians ahead of Western counterparts

September 30, 2016 12:00 am | Updated November 01, 2016 10:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Cardiovascular disorders are the cause of 25 per cent deaths in India. However, the young population with a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and genetic predisposition are adding to the crisis.

Research shows that heart disease has affected young Indians 10 years ahead of their Western counterparts, particularly over the past three decades, owing to sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise, warn cardiologists.

On World Heart Day, observed across the world on September 29, Curofy, India’s largest online community of verified doctors, conducted a poll asking physicians the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases in India.

Of the 2,230 doctors polled, 1,530 or 68.6 per cent held sedentary but fast-paced lifestyle responsible for the same.

Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director, Medanta Hospital, said: “Smoking is one of the leading causes of premature heart disease.

Sedentary lifestyles, sugar-laden sweets and their heavy consumption also cannot be ruled out. I would seriously advise running to be added as an important part of one’s daily schedule.”

According to the poll, 22.4 per cent or 520 doctors held unhealthy food habits as the culprit, leading the population to an epidemic of sorts of heart failure.

Doctors working in the area said the focus should be on creating a healthy heart environment. “At least 80 per cent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be avoided if four main risk factors — tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol — are controlled. By ensuring that everyone has the chance to make healthy heart choices wherever they live, work and play, World Heart Day encourages us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk and promotes a heart-healthy planet for those around us,” said Harsh Wardhan, head of department, cardiology, Primus Super Specialty Hospital.

He added that many factors raise the risk of developing coronary artery disease, including unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors linked to obesity and overweight), lack of physical activity, age, family history of early heart disease.

“Deteriorating lifestyle coupled with unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, abdominal obesity and stress has made even the younger population vulnerable to have heart attacks at prime of their life,” he warned.

Maintaining a healthy heart is the best way to avoid life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke, which are among the most lethal killers in South-East Asia, said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation’s regional director for the region.

There are a few key habits individuals can cultivate.

These include avoiding tobacco and alcohol consumption, and eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Limiting salt intake to less than one teaspoon each day is also critical to lowering blood pressure and mitigating the risk of heart attacks and strokes. These measures should be complemented by engaging in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day and five times a week.

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