Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) particularly cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading causes of death – almost 17.9 million lives being lost each year, worldwide. CVDs include disorders of the heart and blood vessels like coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, congenital heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, peripheral artery disease, heart failure and other conditions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common heart disease and the reason behind most heart attacks in the United States. Some of the symptoms of coronary artery disease may include: shortness of breath, angina or discomfort, heaviness, aching, or burning sensation in the chest or a pain in the shoulder, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back. These can be and usually are mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Heart attack symptoms typically last around 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or placing a sorbitrate or nitroglycerin under the thumb. Some people mostly diabetes can also have a symptom-less of ”silent” heart attack till it’s too late. The best thing to do in such circumstances is to call a doctor…
- CVDs account for 60% of total adult deaths in India
- CVDs account for over a quarter (26%) of overall deaths in India
- 15% of Indian population smoke tobacco
- 3 litres of pure alcohol is consumed per person
- Over a fifth (21.1%) people have hypertension which can increase risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease or stroke
CAD develops due to irregular blood supply to the heart and narrowing of the arteries due to plaque which reduces blood flow, and oxygen to the heart. This may lead to chest pain and possible heart attack.
The most common symptoms are chest pain or discomfort which may last for several minutes, shortness of breath, tiredness, and weakness, pounding or racing heartbeat, swelling of the ankles, feet, legs or abdomen and or excessive sweating.
Some people may not even experience any symptoms of underlying cardiovascular disease for years before a heart attack or stroke
Stress, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and depression can seriously affect the body’s metabolism. Individuals with high/low blood pressure, high glucose/lipid profile, cholesterol and obesity are at risk. Some of the other causes that can exacerbate the risks include beak-up, loneliness, recession in business or loss of job. In one case a 20 year- old boy preparing for a competitive examination suddenly complained of chest pain. His family rushed him to a doctor who said that he had just suffered a heart attack.
There was a time when children took their parents to cardiologists. Today it is the other way round, as parents often accompany their teenage children to the doctor for treatment of cardiovascular diseases. According to a survey the lowest age of heart-attack was found to be 35 years.
In India and United States an estimated 62.5 and 12.7 million years of life were lost prematurely due to CVD respectively in 2016. Ischemic heart disease accounted for 15% – 20% and stroke and 6% to 9% of all deaths in India and United States.
BLOOD PRESSURE: Get your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure is one of main culprit and makes the heart work more than it can sustain. Change in lifestyle may be the best way to prevent and control high blood pressure.
CHOLESTEROL: High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can clog the arteries and lead to coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines can lower your cholesterol.
OBESITY & WEIGHT GAIN: Obesity can increase your risk for heart disease. According to a study most men, women and children today are increasingly becoming overweight, this may lead to unprecedented rise in obesity-related stroke, obesity-related high blood pressure, obesity-related heart disease and obesity-related diabetes.
BALALNCED DIET: Limit fats, sodium, and sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and lower the risk of heart disease.
EXERCISE: Exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation. It can also help to lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and thus prevent or delay the heart disease.
ALCOHOL – HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH: Drinking can raise blood pressure, add extra calories, and cause weight gain. So no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, women should not have more than one.
SMOKING: Smoking raises your blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Quitting smoking can be a good option to lower heart disease.
STRESS: Stress can raise your blood pressure and “trigger” overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, which are bad for the heart. The best way to manage stress is to exercise, listen to music, stay calm or peaceful, and meditate
DIABETES: Keep diabetes under control. Diabetes doubles the risk of heart disease because over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels.
SLEEP: Lack of sleep may raise blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes and increase the risk of heart disease. Adults need about 8 hours of sound sleep per day.