TRADITIONAL INDIAN LIFE STYLES CAN PREVENT CORONARY HEART DISEASE, YET
WE SQUANDER MONEY TRYING TO CURE IT.
In India nearly 24 million people suffer from heart ailments and at
least 20 million have diagnosed hypertension. In USA, with a quarter of
our population, 40 million have diagnosed heart disease and 60 million
have hypertension. Yet, ironically the very life style that western
cardiologists today recommend to prevent coronary heart disease is the
one that Indians are increasingly abandoning, writes Padma Ramnath in
'Business India' (Aug 30 – Sept 12, 1993).
Dr. P. A. Kale, Professor of Cardiology at the G.S. Medical College, KEM
Hospital, says that coronary heart disease has climbed the 'charts' from
14th to 4th.
In India, the incidence of coronary heart disease is found even among
those below 40 years. The causes for heart disease are smoking,
hypertension and high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood
sugar stress. In Western countries they are found more among the aging
Dr. B. K. Goyal, Dean of Bombay Hospital, after a 10-year study of
coronary heart disease has noted 16% incidence among the young – four
times the rate in western countries. Tobacco use and the high stress of
urban life are considered the main cause of this high incidence. Dr.
Goyal recommends that youth should have an awareness of the causes of
heart disease right from school level.
Women are equally prone to coronary heart disease, as they too have to
face the stress of life, trying to balance family responsibilities with
their work in the office or factory.
There are some myths about coronary heart disease, one is that normal
ECG rules out coronary heart disease. However changes are often
reflected in the ECG only when there is acute or chronic deficiency in
blood supply to the heart. Again in a supine ECG, at least 65% angina
patients will show a normal profile. Only a stress test can rule out
coronary heart disease.
Another myth is that blocks showing up in coronary angiograms
immediately warrant bypass surgery. Nuclear radiologists suggest a
thallium study instead of an angiogram.
Published in the July 2010 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.