Heart risks increase but people ignorant (World Heart Day is Sep 26)

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: Changing lifestyles and decreasing physical activities are posing greater risks of heart attacks, but nearly 76 percent people have never done a cardiac check to assess the hazard they face.

As the World Heart Day is being observed Sunday, findings of a survey from Max Healthcare reveal that nearly 60 percent of people between the ages 20 and 65 don`t feel they have any risk of heart attack, even though nearly 20 percent already have a family history.

The survey shows that people in the 20-30 age group were the most optimistic about not developing heart diseases even though a majority of them have never got a heart checkup done.

However, doctors say that with changing lifestyle, three times rise has been registered in heart diseases among youths, which include coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.

"As a result of changing lifestyle, the average age at which a person may suffer a heart attack has come down from 40 years to 30 years. It`s a matter of great concern for India," Praveen Chandra, chairman of Interventional Cardiology at Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon, said.

"Sedentary lifestyle, hectic schedules, no physical activity, and smoking and drinking habits are the factors leading to heart diseases among youths," he adds.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the world`s largest killers, claiming 17.1 million lives a year.

Negligence towards the risk has been dubbed by doctors as one of the biggest reasons behind the rapid growth in the number of cardiac diseases cases.

The theme this year is "Workplace Wellness - Take Responsibility for your own Heart Health", focusing on the need to generate awareness. Doctors agree that emphasis is now needed on the preventive measures.

According to the survey, laziness (17 percent) and long working hours (30 percent) are two of the main reasons for not exercising.

"Advances have been made in the field of interventional cardiology. Now preventive cardiology has to be stressed on," says Vipul Roy, senior cardiology consultant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here.

"In a country like India where we have different kinds of food habits and very negligible percentage of the population performing daily exercises, we need to stress more on the preventive aspect of cardiac ailments," he adds.

In addition to the stressful life, obesity, diabetes and smoking add to the risk.

"Patients who are more prone to have Sudden Cardiac Deaths can be identified in the general population by screening patients for heart disease and risk factors for heart disease which include diabetes, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, stress and lack of physical activity, and subjecting them to periodical testing," says Rajneesh Sardana, senior cardiology consultant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Prevention, according to the doctors, is the only answer."One should keep a regular check on weight. Forty-five minutes of brisk walking or workout is must for every individual and each should consume less fat," said Praveer Aggarwal, senior cardiologist at Delhi`s Escorts Hospital.

"Some recent studies have come up which show how a genetic mutation affects four percent of Indians. So, if you have it in your family, you need to be extra cautious," he adds.

IANS