The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Care can spare you heart scare
Major factors contributing
to cardiac diseases

*No exercise/ sedentary lifestyle (over 65 per cent)
*Wrong diet (over 60 per cent)
*Diabetes and smoking (45 per cent)
*Stress and hypertension
(40 per cent)
*Obesity (25 per cent)

Visit your cardiologist before your heart misses a beat.

This is the advice from doctors, after the latest survey conducted on cardiac ailments in the major metros revealed that 95 per cent of Calcuttans go to a cardiologist only after they have suffered the first heart attack.

In the rest of the metros, 34 per cent patients turn to their cardiologist before their first attack.

Carried out in Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, the survey, involving 40 top cardiologists and 40 dieticians across the country and hundreds of citizens, the survey revealed that the level of ignorance about cardiac status was “dangerously high”.

The survey, conducted over a month, showed 52 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women quizzed by doctors expressing confidence that they were not at a risk from heart diseases.

This, despite over 70 per cent of them having a family history of heart disease and leading an “extremely unhealthy lifestyle”, with a cocktail of “wrong food habits” and “stressful work conditions”.

In Calcutta, lack of awareness about the disease and its consequences was all too evident. Sixty-four per cent of men (an all-India high) and 57 per cent of women surveyed, in the age group of 30-50 years, were “totally in the dark” about being in the high-risk heart ailment zone.

Initiated by Mumbai-based Saffola Healthy Heart Foundation, the survey, conducted through random sampling and interviews, further revealed that 75 per cent of women in Calcutta were at a risk due to a combination of faulty food habits, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and excessive smoking.

Another alarming point raised by cardiologists following the survey showed the plummeting age-band of people suffering from heart diseases in metros.

If the national cut-off age for cardiac-risk patients was 32 years, it was as low as 24 years in Mumbai.

“Heart diseases are increasingly vaulting barriers of age and sex, and it is now high time for people to realise that it can happen to anybody,” warned city-based cardiologist Auroop Das Biswas, who was part of the survey team here.

“Therefore, preventive heart check-ups, diet control, regular exercise and stress management are the only ways to reduce threat from heart disease,” he added.

Following the alarming findings of the survey, city cardiologists are prescribing a curb on smoking and drinking, especially among women, once they cross the 40 mark, plus a stricter control over food habits.

The survey also revealed that heart diseases did not depend only on obesity (only 25 per cent of cardiac patients were found to be obese) as is commonly believed. A flawed diet and a fast lifestyle were the prime concern points when it came to cardiac problems.

Besides interviewing people through a structured questionnaire on their lifestyle and examining them physically, the survey team also spoke to a wide cross-section of doctors to get a first-hand insight into the factors behind cardiac ailments.

The results highlighted ignorance as a key factor behind the rise in cases of cardiac ailment.

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