Heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality not only in India but throughout the world. But in the last few years, different trends have been seen regarding heart disease in India compared to the west. While deaths due to cardiovascular disease have declined 40% between 1990 and 2016 in the USA, they rose by 35% in India in the same period. So, there is an urgent need to review Indian policies and programs for checking heart risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease has been rising rapidly in India because income increases have been accompanied by dramatic dietary and lifestyle changes and healthcare has failed to cope with the medical impact of these changes. In comparison, USA has achieved significant improvements in reducing the heart risk factors and improving secondary and acute care. A similarly two-pronged strategy is required in India too.
Dietary and lifestyle changes together with widespread heart health screening campaigns, can prevent catastrophic expenses and will require expansion of both the public as well as private sectors. It’s the behavioral changes that are going to have the biggest impact. The age bracket for cardiac problems has also undergone a major change and has become more prevalent in the age group of 20 to 40. If cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in India, a key factor has been increased usage of packaged foods, added salt and sugars, and trans fats even as we burn fewer calories.
Obesity has now become a leading cause of heart problems and multiple other ailments are also accompanying the same. As more of our population transitions into an urban, sedentary lifestyle, its intimate link with cardiovascular disease must be broken. That means eating healthier, exercising, doing yoga, and keeping fit would propel our efforts to prevent heart disease in the right direction. Simple modifications in daily life can go a long way in preventing cardiac problems. Also, regular cardiac screening is also important, especially for 35 years and above. Early detection of heart problems can help in curing the same in the early stages by medications and lifestyle modifications. Consult your heart specialist doctor in case of any symptoms of heart disease and prevention of heart disease.