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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In your 30s? Go for a cardiac test

Mumbai: Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray's heart condition has turned the spotlight on an issue that few choose to confront directly: The right age to start looking at your heart much more closely. 

    "Earlier I would ask people over 40 years of age to undergo yearly cardiac checks, but I now ask people over 30 years of age to be careful," said Ramakanta Panda, senior heart surgeon and founder of Asian Heart Hospital in the Bandra-Kurla Complex. The young face of India's cardiac epidemic is well illustrated by the fact that Panda's consultation room on Monday had a patient who was only 31 years old. 
    The consensus among the medical fraternity is that one of the best ways for urban Indians to dodge heart attacks would be to start car
diac health checks right in their thirties. Dr Pavan Kumar, head of cardiac surgery at Nanavati Hospital, said Indians should be on their guard from the age of 35. "People should undergo a stress test annually and, perhaps, even a CT angiography every three years,'' he said. A CT angio, he said, clearly shows calcium deposit and each test is valid for three years. 
    Preventive cardiac checks are the only prudent option considering that heart diseases hit Indians much earlier than other ethnic populations, said experts. The trend was first noticed a few years ago when the most comprehensive global study on the risk factors for heart diseases showed that Indians were prone to heart attacks a decade earlier than their Western counterparts. 


• Heart diseases topped BMC's list of top 10 killer diseases for 2011 

• Death certificates issued by BMC for 2011 show that 26,540 Mumbaikars died of heart diseases and heart attacks 

• That's a 1.5% rise in deaths due to cardiac problems over 2010 

• More than 1.30 lakh Mumbaikars have died due to heart problems in the past seven years 
'Stress plays big role in heart woes' 
Mumbai: Dr Prafulla Kerkar, head of KEM Hospital's cardiology department who contributed to the worldwide study on risk factors for heart diseases, said it's time Indian families started educating their children about preventive measures. "If a family has a history of heart disease, it is best to tell children about the 

importance of a healthy lifestyle, eating right and staying physically active.'' 
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research stated in November 2010: "Among adults over 20 years of age, the estimated prevalence of coronary heart disease is around 3-4% in rural areas and 8-10% in urban areas, representing a twofold rise in rural areas and a six-fold rise in urban areas between the years 1960 and 2000.'' 
    The reasons are not too difficult to find. Said heart sur
geon Dr Ramakant Panda, "Earlier it was thought that the Indian gene is the main cause for the epidemic of heart diseases, but new research suggests that stress plays a very big role.'' Urban Indians have high levels of stress and low levels of physical activity. "Moreover, the Indian diet has drastically changed. All these are contributing to a higher incidence of heart disease among Indians.'' 
    The only silver lining is that with regular monitoring of cholesterol, blood sugar, hypertension and an annual stress test, people should be able to catch any discrepancy. 
and ensure in 80-90% of the cases, a problem is noticed at the earliest, said Dr Panda. 
    Some doctors beg to differ. One senior doctor said heart problems are an enigma. He, however, said that modern medicine has evolved so much that a person could live comfortably for decades. 

Shatrughan Sinha has bypass 
Bollywood actor and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha (66) underwent a bypass surgery at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Monday evening. Confirming the surgery, Sinha's wife Poonam told TOI that doctors found "some blockages'' in his heart during medical investigations while he was admitted to the hospital following an allergy to paint. TNN


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