Matters of the heart

/Matters of the heart
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Matters of the heart

An inherent part of ageing gracefully is staying physically well for as long as possible. I like to think that my old age will be similar to the sprightly 84-year-old man I know. Perhaps you know someone like him too, he�s the one who still works and travels extensively. He also finishes most evenings nursing a glass of cognac in one hand as he smokes a Cuban in the other while reading a book.

A happy thought, and one that Aashish Contractor, head of cardiac health and rehabilitation centre, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, promptly debunked by telling me that �if we Indians keep up with our current way of life, 1 in 3 of us is destined to die of heart disease�.

That�s an extraordinarily large number of the population suffering and dying of a heart attack or a stroke. What makes it worse is the fact that we suffer from heart attacks sooner than people in other countries. On an average an Indian suffers from a heart attack when he or she is 53 years old. Compare that with when an American suffers the same fate�at age 59. Western Europeans seem to have it even better, they get their first heart attack at age 63. That�s not a small difference when you think about it. These numbers are from the international INTERHEART study where data was collected from more than 12,000 cases across 52 countries, including India. The study was published in the medical journal The Lancet on 11 September 2004.

So it seems that 33% of us are destined to die of heart disease, and those of us who develop heart disease are likely to get a heart attack a full decade earlier than our European friends.

The INTERHEART study found something else too. The researchers examined nine health indicators and their effect on a person�s chance of getting a heart attack. They collected data on stuff like smoking, diet, physical activity, blood pressure and blood sugar. Read More

Sujata Kelkar Shetty, PhD, writes on public health issues and is a research scientist trained at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, US.

By |March 9th, 2016|General|0 Comments

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