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Stress reflects rise in suicide, cardiac cases

Jamshedpur, Sept. 29: Is there a common factor behind the rising number of suicide and cardiac cases in the steel city?

Senior consultant cardiac surgeon at Brahmananda Narayana Hrudayalaya (BNH), Perwaiz Alam, who has been conducting operations in the city for over three years feels increasing stress levels among people in the city is to blame.

The surgeon of the super specialty hospital, which held an awareness campaign on the occasion of World Heart Day today, referred to the findings of a survey by an NGO working in the health sector.

The independent survey, which was released in March, gives figures for 2011. Of all the cases registered in OPDs of hospitals across Jharkhand, 13 per cent are related to cardiac ailments.

Jamshedpur’s share of the 13 per cent is 3.7, followed by Ranchi with 3 per cent, 2.8 in Dhanbad and 2 in Bokaro, indicating the high incidence of heart problems in cities.

“The findings are disturbing not only for us but all health centres dealing with cardiac cases. We need to do something to prevent the spurt in heart diseases. Especially in urban areas and a city like Jamshedpur, we have seen people making all efforts to decrease risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and diabetes. Despite this, the figure (cardiac cases) is increasing. Which is why it appears that people are unable to handle stress,” said Alam.

He attributed stress to be a major cause for the high number of suicides in the city.

Figures provided by Jeevan, a suicide prevention centre working in the steel city for the last five years, suggest that in 2011 suicides made up a staggering 19 per cent of all unnatural deaths in Jamshedpur, against a national average of 5 per cent. The figure (till August 2012) has already reached 16 per cent in the steel city (the national average is yet to be ascertained).

Alam said BNH would ask visitors who frequent the OPD to fill questionnaires for gauging stress levels from October 1. The hospital has launched a two-week campaign to educate people about steps to prevent cardiac ailments. As part of it, the hospital will launch a special package for check-up from October 1. This apart, the hospital is distributing leaflets on preventive steps and symptoms of cardiac diseases to joggers at Jubilee Park.

“We will provide heart check-up comprising blood test, dietician consultations, ECG test and cardiologist consultation for Rs 400. Angioplasty will be done as part of the campaign for Rs 79,500 (it normally costs Rs 1.17 lakh) while angiography will be done for Rs 8,500,” said Bimlendu Kumar, consultant interventional cardiologist at BNH.

Manish Agarwal, general manager project (eastern India) of Calcutta-based Medica Super Specialty Hospital who was in the city for a heart check-up camp today, also agreed that besides suicides, depression and stress might be contributing factors to the rise in cardiac cases in the steel city.

“It is disturbing to see youths and teens committing suicide in the city and also the number of people in the age group of 20-40 with cardiac ailments going up steadily. Stress may be a major reason behind both. Offices should hold sessions to encourage positive behavioural changes among employees and introduce yoga and meditations to check this trend,” said Agarwal.