My grandmother always used to tell me that working hard 9-5 and having a good night’s sleep were the secrets of a healthy heart. And she also told me that heart problems were a 60’s thing (people in their 60’s)
Her statement could not have been truer as she remained healthy her working life and dies at the age of 65 as you could have guessed of an heart attack. But times have changed.
Today 30 is the new 60’s.
According to statistics from the WHO, India has the largest cardio vascular burden in the world. 1 in 5 Indians die because of cardiovascular diseases. By 2020 the figure will jump to 1 in 3. Currently there are about 45 million heart patients in India. Obviously this figure is much greater as many in the rural areas don’t have the infrastructure to detect heart ailments.
There are two key reasons why such data has come out in the open.
- There is a key shift in mortality due to non-communicable life style diseases. So about 50 years ago while malaria and typhoid would have killed many people, today it is Diabetes, Hypertension and Cardiovascular diseases. So clearly mechanization and urbanization has its own perils.
- There is increased awareness and screening. Many more people have been empowered by the media and other social sites. These people read articles like the one you are reading now and become aware of the situation and proactively reach out to care providers to undergo screening.
A combination of these two factors see’s India as the diabetes capital of the world. Indians have the tendency to develop diabetes a good 10-15 years ahead of their western counterpart. The average Indian develops the condition at the age of 45 years.
As the world celebrates ‘World Heart Day’ on the 29th of September I have decided to do a three part series beginning with this post. The second post in the series would look at what is the government doing to face the challenges posed by cardiovascular diseases and the third post would look at how the private healthcare sector is working on innovative strategies to counter the issue.
I will be back soon and till then comments and suggestions are always welcome…