Dr BG Baliga Writes – Getting Heart Healthy This World Heart Day!

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One of the major causes of death in India is a heart attack. It not only affects the elderly population but in the recent years seems to be affecting the young as well.

The mortality and morbidity from heart disease and heart attacks has increased at alarming rates in India. In fact, it is believed that one-day India will be the hub of coronary artery disease. By the year 2030, every 5th Indian will suffer from heart disease.

What can be done about this?

Coronary artery disease, or disease of the heart arteries, refers to a condition where there is narrowing in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Not just that; these vessels also supply valuable oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle, helping it pump efficiently throughout the day.

In the presence of narrowing of the arteries, the heart does not get the nourishment it requires when it needs it the most. This can lead to symptoms of chest pain and breathlessness, which is often called angina.

If the arteries are blocked off completely, it leads to a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI).

Coronary artery disease is a condition that can be treated but cannot be cured. It is caused by a number of different risk factors that have been listed in the table below.

RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE

Major Factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol levels

Minor Factors

  • Advancing age
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet high in oil and salt
  • Mental stress
  • Environmental factors

In short, coronary disease is a multifactorial illness.

Catching It Early

Despite the lack of a cure for this problem, the good news is that steps can be taken to control the various risk factors that lead to heart disease.

I strongly believe that we should start screening patients for heart disease at an age as early as the 20’s. In fact, maybe taking the steps to create heart healthy environments are better so that heart disease can be prevented.

baliga diagnostics world heart day

This World Heart Day, celebrated on 29th September, 2017, the theme revolves around creating healthy environments both at the work place and at home.

Taking the right steps early can reduce spending hard earned money on investigations and medicines later in life. This financial burden can carry on for years!

Those who ignore their health may find that they end up not just getting admitted to hospital for treatment but spending money on procedures such as stents and bypass surgery.

Taking The Right Steps

I strongly believe that prevention of heart disease is what we should target. Many of us ignore this fact, and only start taking care once something has happened to us.

I have seen way too many patients take steps to protect their heart after they have had a heart attack. They could have might as well done it before when they were healthy and prevented the problem completely.

The best time to start working on your health is now.

When targeting heart disease, I feel it is important to involve those between the ages of 25 to 40 years.

Their risk factors can be assessed, necessary tests done and right measures and advice can be offered early. In particular, advice regarding lifestyle changes and stopping smoking can make a big difference to their health I feel.

Education plays a primary role, so let us spread the word about living the healthy life. Keep your fried and fatty food intake low. Exercise regularly. Take the stairs instead of the life. Walk 10000 steps a day.

Start this at a young age, and go on to lead a healthy and fruitful life for years to come!

Dr BG Baliga

Dr BG Baliga

Senior Cardiologist and Physician at Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Dr BG Baliga MD FRCP FICC is a senior cardiologist and physician based in Bangalore. He is the director of Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a non-invasive cardiology center that has been serving patients for over 30 years.
Dr BG Baliga
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