• By : Fidhat Fayaz Drangay
The world is currently dealing with Covid-19 pandemic and unfortunately 1.46 M people lost their lives among 62.7 M infected people worldwide till today. 137 k deaths were reported in India and 1680 in Jammu & Kashmir. But have you ever wondered ! Heart diseases are much worse than this pandemic.
Yet Heart ailments are one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity, which is still underestimated. Till today heart disease remains the most common cause of death in most of the countries of the world. The recent data suggests that over 70 lac globally have been infected till now out of which around 4 lac have lost their lives. India attributes to around 2.56 Lac infected persons with a mortality of around 7000. This in comparison to Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD) and other heart ailments is very low.
Globally over 20 crore people annually are being diagnosed with CAD and 2 crore have lost their lives, which accounts to 10% mortality rate. India alone accounts for 6 crore people having some form of heart disease with a mortality rate of 35 lac per annum. India is the present-day leader in the whole of the world so far as the number of heart patients is concerned and the number of heart patients are still on the rise. It is estimated that around 9000 per day lose their lives and the count is still increasing.
Evidently, the rate of mortality due to COVID is restricted to within 2% whereas heart diseases kill over 10%, and still neglected. There are 8-10 crore (80-100 million) heart patients in India and every 10 seconds one person dies of heart disease in this country. As per the study carried out by Global Health Research Institute which was carried out in all states of India, in 2016 J&K has 28.6 Percent deaths because of heart related ailments. The study further reports that 25 percent of deaths occur in the age group of 25-69 years. Out of these, 32.8 percent deaths occur in urban areas and 22.9 percent occur in rural areas.
Heart disease encompasses a wide range of cardiovascular problems, Types of heard disease are Arrhythmia , a heart rhythm abnormality. Atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries. Cardiomyopathy ,This condition causes the heart’s muscles to harden or grow weak . Congenital heart defects are heart irregularities that are present at birth. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by the build up of plaque in the heart’s arteries. It’s sometimes called ischemic heart disease.
Heart infections. Heart infections may be caused by , bacteria, viruses or parasites. There are various causes of heart diseases :- diabetes , high blood pressure , stress and anxiety , smoking , obesity , physical inactivity , excessive use of alcohol or caffeine , medications and supplements , hereditary or family history , ethnicity , previous heart ailment etc.
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The whole world is waiting for the possible vaccination of CoVid 19. Can we save ourselves from being a victim of heart disease. There are many things that can raise your risk for heart disease. They are called risk factors. Some of them aren’t under your control, but there are many that you can control. Learning about them can lower your risk of heart disease. the heart disease risk factors that you cannot change :- Age risk of heart disease increases as we get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk. After attaining this age you should do regular checkups to remain updated with our health status. Sex, Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, oestrogen provides women some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men. Race or ethnicity such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates Family history, You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.
What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease: Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly – at least once every 6 months for most healthy adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure. . Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure , include citrus foods in your diet and avoid salt , deli meat , pizzas , pickles , canned soups , fatty and sugary products. And here in Kashmir totally avoid salted tea as morning tea or have it on alternative days.
Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides also raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk for heart disease. This is mostly because they are linked to other heart disease risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Controlling your weight can lower these risks. Don’t skip your breakfast , drink lots of water , include dietary fibre in your diet, fight off your hunger with more filling foods, and plan your meals.
Eat a healthy diet. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease.
Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease. The people can see themselves in gym daily or in public parks engaged in morning or evening walks and jogging. Involve yourself in some sports activities.
Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. You can talk with your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. Don’t let anyone smoke near your atleast by 1 meter radius.
Manage stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a “trigger” for a heart attack. Also, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of Diabetic heart disease That is because over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, to keep it under control. For people of Kashmir we must limit quantity of our daily rice intake.
Make sure that you get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits . If you have frequent sleep problems, contact your health care provider. One problem, sleep apnea, causes people to briefly stop breathing many times during sleep. This interferes with your ability to get a good rest and can raise your risk of heart disease. If you think you might have it, ask your doctor about having a sleep study. And if you do have sleep apnea, make sure that you get treatment for it.
People must be properly get awared about heart diseases and their prevention. Health camps must be installed in Kashmir to provide medical assistance to patients of heart diseases. Government must pay their heed towards establishing more infrastructure in state for treatment of Heart diseases. Rehabilitation centres must be installed to help people dealing with stress , anxiety and depression issues. Government must build enough public gyms and parks in rural areas as a centre of attraction and motivating force to indulge more people in daily exercises.
May Allah bless us all with good health !
Author is a MBBS student at Community Based Medical College , Bangladesh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org