Souvik Bhattacharya, a 32-year-old “successful and healthy” business manager with a multinational pharmaceutical firm in the city, leaves for work around 7.30 every morning and returns late in the night. Last week, he complained of chest pain and giddiness, and was detected with a cardiac ailment. Cardiologists opined that extreme stress, more so early in the morning, was the cause of Souvik’s heart ailment. He has been advised a month’s rest, along with anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs) and betablockers to bring down the lipid level and told to practise an hour of yoga every day to relieve stress.
Souvik is definitely not the only victim of stress in this city. Doctors say more and more Calcuttans in the age-group of 30-45 are falling prey to heart diseases, specially due to early-morning stress in the form of watching news bulletins depicting violence, action movies on TV or simply overwork.
Concerned over the steep rise in the incidence of heart diseases, mostly caused by early-morning stress, city-based cardiologists have called an urgent conference of specialists on Saturday to discuss ways to “modify a stressful lifestyle”.
Of late, Calcuttans are becoming more prone to heart conditions like coronary artery disease and rheumatic heart disease, due to acute stress and strain early in the morning, when maximum adrenaline is secreted, doctors say. From four to five heart-attack patients per 1,000 people in the last couple of years, the figure has risen to seven-eight per 1,000.
“Indians in general are more genetically prone to heart attacks and we have seen that most heart attacks occur very early in the morning,” said Mrinal Kanti Das, member of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI). The food habits and lifestyle of Calcuttans make them more susceptible to heart attacks. “At the moment, nearly one-third of all deaths in Calcutta are cardiac related,” said former head of the department (cardiology) of NRS Hospital, S.K. Lodh.