New Delhi: Rapid change in lifestyle has contributed more to heart diseases among older people across the globe, but the case is entirely different in India with almost 25 percent of the victims of cardiac arrests falling under the age of 40.

On the World Heart Day on Saturday, cardiologists stress the need on creating larger awareness on the ill-effects of heart diseases and suggest simple ways like quitting smoking, visiting doctors regularly and reducing stress to ward off the deadly disease that takes the lives of thousands of people.

And, they say, children might also be under greater threat of developing cardio vascular diseases with over 60,000 to 90,000 kids getting affected by heart ailments every year in India.

Remaining active, eating healthy food, quitting smoking or saying no to smoking, beating stress and going for regular health check-ups are some of the ways the doctors suggest to people to prevent such diseases.

Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prataph C Reddy, a leading cardiologist himself, says doctors estimate that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than people in western countries with 25 per cent of those generating such diseases to be under the age of 40.

"This is unheard of in other populations. Fast-paced lifestyle is one reason and another is that Indians are genetically predisposed to attract heart ailments," he says. Reddy says women might also be in greater danger as they can be attracted to heart diseases after the age of 50 and suggests regular medical checkups as one of the ways to prevent such ailments.

Another cardiologist Dr K S Dagar of Max Hospitals lays emphasis on preventing congenital heart disease, saying the gap between the detection and curing of such cases needed to bridged on a "war-footing".

"Around 60,000 to 90,000 children attract heart diseases in the country and only 15,000 to 20,000 are cured. This gap needs to bridge on a war-footing and greater awareness need to be raised," Dagar says.

One suggestion, Dagar, Chief Surgeon and Head Neonatal and Congenital Heart Surgery at Max Hospitals, gives is a special test for women between their 16th and 20th week of pregnancy during which doctors can diagnose whether there are problems in the heart of the baby.

"If the test is negative then there is 90 per cent chance that the child will not have congenital heart ailment," he says, while pitching for training of more manpower so that the technical expertise can be made use of.

Another leading cardiologist M R Girinath said cardiac diseases are assuming "epidemic proportions" in the country. If this trend has to be stopped, Girinath says, the focus should be on prevention involving the control of risk factors that promote the development of the disease.


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