Studies over the last 60 years show an alarmingly high rate of coronary heart disease and premature heart disease among Indians. The trend was first observed in the late 1950s, but unfortunately little has been done since then to reverse it. We are now witnessing the spread of an epidemic across the South Asian region and India is right in the middle of it.
It is estimated that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than Caucasians, with 25% of attacks happening to people under the age of 40, unheard of in other populations. Among urban Indians, incidence of heart problems is 12%, while it’s just 5% in the US, even though we know we’ve always known them to eat more “fast-food”!
So, what have we done to deserve this? Is it the lack of regular physical activity? Poor blood cholesterol levels? Stress? Poor eating habits? No body really knows. There are many possibilities. One of them could even be our genetic predisposition to heart diseases. Perhaps then, it is in our genes. However, one thing is for sure. Whatever it may be, the much more pronounced cases in urban India is surely a result of unhealthy living, exposure to pollution, stress at work in the paced up urban lifestyle and indulgence in bad habits like smoking, etc. All that is certainly aggravating the tendency of our body to fall ill and prey to this deadly disease. However still, we may be born with the problem, but we certainly do not have to live with it.
Apollo Hospitals and The Times of India have been running the Billion Hearts Beating campaign, in an attempt to raise awareness on the issue and motivate people to take the pledge for a healthy lifestyle. They’ve zeroed on seven risk factors which, if addressed, can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease – even reverse it! These are: Smoking, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Sedentary Lifestyle, Unhealthy eating, Stress. A majority of these are urban lifestyle induced problems that can be tackled with conscious attempts.
Thousands have taken the pledge and have vowed to exercise more, quit smoking, check what they eat and so on. A more progressive and healthy India is only possible with healthy individuals, all “good at heart”! Take the pledge! Click here so you can contribute better for India’s development.