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Rediff.com  » Getahead » What kills 1.7 mn Indians every year

What kills 1.7 mn Indians every year

March 13, 2018 08:36 IST

People with healthy lifestyles can also be at risk of heart diseases, warns cardiologist Dr Sanjay Agarwal.

Cardiac arrest
IMAGE*: People who are obese, have higher cholestrol levels, who smoke and consume alcohol are at risk of heart diseases. Photograph: Joshua Lott/Reuters

According to the journal Circulation, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in India.

According to the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Report, about 1.7 million people in India died due to heart-related problems.

"The youngest male I have treated is 19 years. The youngest female on whom I performed angioplasty was 23," Dr Sanjay Agarwal, senior interventional cardiologist, Kailash Hospital and Heart Institute, Noida, tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair.

 

What happens in a cardiac arrest?

A human heart's function is to pump oxygen rich blood in the body.

It is like an electrical circuit.

When the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is interrupted -- by a clot, stress or blockage of the arteries -- you suffer from cardiac arrest.

What it means is your heart is not able to pump blood; your heart has stopped functioning.

A normal heart beats between 70 to 100 times in a minute. If it beats 400 times, it is erratic.

We call it ventricular fibrillation -- where the heart is not beating, it is flickering. The damage is irreversible.

If you are unable to restore the heart's functioning in two to three minutes, the patient will die.

Is it possible that people with healthy lifestyles can also be at risk of heart diseases?

Yes. It can happen to anyone.

Who are at risk?

People with increased blood pressure, those who are obese, prone to smoking, have high cholesterol levels, have a history of heart ailments in the family, lead a stressed lifestyle -- all are at high risk.

What are some of the warning signs?

If you experience discomfort in the chest area, experience extreme fatigue and pain that radiates to the throat, jawline, shoulder and feel breathless, you are suffering from a stroke.

Is there a co-relation between heart disease and gender? Are women at greater risk than men are?

Not really. But women are somewhat protected till menopause.

Is it age-specific?

A few decades ago, people believed that cardiac problems occurred only after 45 years of age.

In my personal experience, the youngest male I have treated is 19 years. The youngest female on whom I performed angioplasty was 23.

What can be done to prevent the condition?

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Screen yourself at regular intervals and treat your symptoms effectively.
  • Have a balanced diet. Include veggies, fruits, legumes and nuts.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.
  • Walk 4 to 5 kilometres, for 30 to 35 minutes every day.

Lead image* used for representational purposes only.

Divya Nair / Rediff.com