2 deaths per minute – The dark world of Heart Diseases
The WHO statistics shows that India has 200 million affected, out of which nearly 1 million die every year, that’s an amazing 3,000 per day or 2 deaths per minute. The most dangerous killer of modern times is a professional sharp-shooter that strikes by destroying the most vital organ of the human body, the heart. An illegitimate child of modern life-style, Heart disease is by far the single largest cause of preventable deaths in India and all over the world.
With a country-wide approximate of 2 deaths per minute, it affects people throughout the entire socio-cultural spectrum. Termed by many as a disease of the wealthier class, it’s a disease that originates thru various erroneous life-style choices made by an individual. Even with WHO having hit the panic alarm nearly a decade ago, India is still awakening at the social, financial and cultural loses that we suffer due to this problem.
For an individual any form of heart disorder constitutes losses thru all segments of life. It can lead from social constrains, to increased financial expenditure, to carrying a major psychological burden and a great possibility of landing into an emotional crisis.
The irony lies in that majority of heart disorders are preventable thru simple life-style changes. Today’s social definitions of fun and happiness have increased the exposure to major risk factors for heart diseases. The ignorance or delusional belief of under-estimating the harm caused by these risk-factors to one’s own heart constitutes the primary guilt and core answer to the question “why me” for every newly diagnosed patient.
Seven of the main preventable causes of Heart disorder are:
1. Cholesterol – The Indulgence in un-healthy dietary habits over a long period of time leads to increased cholesterol in an individual’s body. The smartness of cholesterol to deposit around the heart helps in clogging blood supply and slowly stopping it from beating in a normal pattern. A great dietary exposure to fats and poor diet management form the main reason for this factor to arise.
2. Blood Pressure – In India, the common myth of high blood pressure being associated with stressful, irritable or aggressive behavior normally prevents many from getting it regularly monitored. A major problem arises due to cultural conditioning of the Indian palate to depend on high amounts of salt and spices for its satisfaction. All this coupled with low exercise and poor weight management strategy deliver a killing punch to the heart.
3. Eating- The beauty and diversity of Indian culture is also reflected in its cuisine. Unfortunately our house-hold food is highly loaded with fats, salts, flours and sugars. The essential balance of nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins is lacking in most cases due to lack of knowledge or cultural reasons. A poor nutrient management and more taste-bud centric food consumption makes us perfect candidates for obesity and heart diseases.
4. Exercise- Of all major factors, this is probably the one which is completely missing from the life-cycles of 95% population. The time-to-time well laid educational, financial, familial and social pressures, compel the majority to lead a sedentary life-style. This turns them into sitting ducks in front of an experienced hunter like heart disease. The concept of 30 minute cardio exercise is an alien thought process for the vast majority. While absurd ideas like flaunting of big stomach belly being a sign of prosperity or sign of a good housewife is prevalent throughout the socio-cultural spectrum.
5. Substance Abuse – Smoking and Alcohol. - The percentage of population addicted to Nicotine through smoking has exploded exponentially in the last few decades. Peer pressure, instant stress relief, socio-cultural cues and easy availability have made it the number one addiction-to-battle in modern India. Like with all addictions, the addict never accepts his dependency, beliefs that one more wouldn’t harm him, and always requires more of it to get the desired effect.
On its part nicotine, increases the load on blood circulation and heart, this leads to weakening of the same and rise to a number of defects.
Alcohol is an herbal poison. In moderate quantities is beneficial for the heart. Ironically after the first sip, 90% conveniently forget the concept of moderate drinking. The repeated, over-indulgence onto alcohol slowly poisons the liver, kidney, brain and heart. An increased pressure on blood circulation to maintain the flow of nutrients to the above damaged organs, slowly decreases power of the hearts muscles.
6. Diabetes – India is not only the world capital of heart disease, but also of its sister concern Diabetes. The genetic build of our countrymen contains a gene-setup that increases the chances of this deadly syndrome in more than 30% of the population. The hereditary influence of this gene is so strong; that this slow and sweet killer can easily appears in a string of subsequent generations without fail. Diabetes increases the sugar level of the blood, which forms a deadly corrosive mixture which eventually leads to destruction of heart vessels and the heart.
Prevention against diabetes is again missed in many cases on account of all the above mentioned factors.
7. Stress – The best friend of every Indian. Since birth we are programmed to accumulate stress in multiple forms. The pressures of existence increase with every single year of age. The survival instinct to keep the mind running at peak performance levels is a generator of faulty emotional and behavioral coping mechanisms. The invisible nature of this enemy makes it the most deadly of all factors. Its behavioral manifestations like anger, sleep problems, headaches, muscular tensions, recurrent thoughts, panic attacks or clinical depression are usually left untreated under a blanket of holistic explanations. The neglect or taboo to believe in concept of mind-body relationship, gives stress enough ground to flourish into a deadly enemy. It’s not only till stress has destroyed mind and heart functioning at various levels that one realizes the gravity of its nature.
Remember Heart diseases are preventable. A small modification in life-style can add beautiful and happy years to your life.
Never hesitate to approach a professional to help you battle and change any life destructing habit.
Healthy living is not about attaining a desired weight or exercising to achieve a poster-boy body, it’s all about having a healthy life-style with a healthy mind, body and soul.