Every year nearly 17.9 million people die of heart ailments, nearly 32 per cent of all global deaths, said Dr Tarun Kumar, Professor of Cardiology, ABVIMS and RML Hospital.
Talking about Covid infection and heart problem, he said that the virus can cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. How serious are heart diseases for the common man?
A. Heart disease has proved number one killer across the world. Every year nearly 17.9 million people die due to heart disease which is nearly 32 per cent of all global deaths.
Q. Where does India stand in heart diseases?
A. The developing nations are at higher risk and are worst affected. India comes second after China in number of heart attack cases. What is alarming in India is that the number of cases of heart ailments is steadily increasing per year from 1990 onwards. The studies have reported increasing CHD (coronary heart disease) prevalence over the last 60 years, from 1 per cent to 9-10 per cent in urban population and 1 per cent to 4-6 per cent in rural population.
The results of Global Burden of Disease study state age-standardized CVD (cardiovascular diseases) death rate of 272 per 100,000 population in India which is much higher than that of global average of 235. CVDs strike Indians a decade earlier than the western population.
Q. What are the factors for such an alarming increase in heart attack cases in India?
A. The genetic predisposition, high incidence of diabetes, higher stress level, sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the main reasons among others for such an alarming rise. The recent shift of modifiable risk factors towards increasing consumption of red meats, saturated fats and trans fats, junk food is also an important reason for this.
Q. What are the risk factors for heart disease?
A. As age increases, the risk for heart disease also increases. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease than women. Other factors that include are family history, smoking and drug abuse, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and stress.
Q. What is the impact of Covid pandemic on heart illness?
A. The virus can cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system. The virus can contribute in blood pressure fluctuations and heart rate fluctuations (Arrhythmia). It can cause heart failure and attack due to weakening of heart muscle Myocarditis.
Q. As an expert what tips will you give for heart care during the pandemic?
A. Prevention is the key for heart related problems. Get your vaccines administered on time. Say no to self medication. Be active and do exercise, yoga. Avoid stress and smoking and keep blood pressure and sugar level in control. Life is more precious than any worldly thing and heart is engine of life but no oiling for best machinery created till date.