In the 1960s & 70s, we Indians were not too worried about being at risk for heart disease. Back then, heart attacks were something that other people got! Since then, there’s been a sea change in the scenario, especially in the last decade. A recent story carried by India Today says that heart disease accounts for nearly 25 per cent of deaths in India, in the 25- 69 age group.
Here are some more statistics that paint an even gloomier picture:
- Four people die of heart attack every minute in India and the age group is mainly between 30 and 50.
- Twenty-five per cent of heart attack deaths occur in people less than 40.
- Nine hundred people under 30 die due to heart disease in India every day.
- In India, it is estimated that 52% of the deaths occur among people under the age of 70, compared with 22% in the west.
As you obviously do not want to be a sitting duck for heart disease, it calls for a serious look at lifestyle changes.
Below, are some of the known causes of heart disease:
Smoking: One of the highly addictive habits among young individuals today, a major factor for developing myocardial infarction (MI). All forms of tobacco consumption are equally dangerous.
High cholesterol levels: Many individuals have low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) which may lead to the formation of blood clots.
Diabetes:There has been significant rise in the incidence of diabetes – a diabetic having MI is at risk of sudden cardiac death, responds poorly to treatment and has a higher risk of developing re-infarction. Diabetics, like smokers, have an increased tendency to form blood clots, and may develop multiple blocks.
Hypertension: It’s called the silent killer for good reason. Increased salt consumption, stress and a sedentary lifestyle have all contributed to a generation of young hypertensive youngsters. Fast foods have a high salt content as well as trans-fat. High BP imposes undue pressure on the artery walls which can damage the arteries.
Obesity: Indians are in the throes of an obesity epidemic. This means exposure to the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Junk food: Increases the intake of refined carbohydrate, saturated fat and trans-fat
Physical inactivity: Hooked to laptops, tablets and the TV, we’re nurturing a large urban population of couch potatoes, which again means risk of diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Stress:Stress in personal or professional lives has escalated, which leads to MI. Not able to achievable targets, ambition and greed are the underlying factors.
Genetic factors: There is also the theory that Indians are pre-disposed to heart disease by virtue of our gene pool – more reason why we have to eliminate the attributing factors to the extent possible.
This is a serious call to action, and those affected need to take immediate steps to reverse the situation, else we shall be burdened by a nation full of unhealthy people.