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Kerala turns capital of coronary heart ailments
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Kerala has become the capital of heart diseases in India and 110 people die of the disease every day, according to studies conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Cardiological Society of India’s Kerala Chapter.

Cardiologists say lifestyle diseases have already replaced communicable diseases as mass killers and it’s not just an urban problem in Kerala anymore. Of the total deaths, 32.8% are due to heart ailments whereas it’s 25% in India nationally.
“The disturbing fact is that at least 10 people before the age of 50 die in Kerala every day of heart diseases. These untimely deaths are preventable,” said eminent cardiologist Dr C Bharath Chandran. “The data underline the importance of lifestyle modifications”.

The ICMR study estimates that 8.72mn people suffer from hypertension and the number of diabetes patients are estimated at 3.48mn. The non-communicable diseases on the high include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, cancers and mental health disorders as a result of rapid urbanization, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and the fast food culture.

Going by the data, deaths due to cardiovascular diseases are expected to go up to two-thirds of all deaths in the state by 2020. According to the World Health Report, 2.6mn Indians are predicted to die in 2020 due to coronary heart diseases which constitute 54.1% of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

The most hit are states like Kerala, Punjab and Delhi, known for high literacy, disposable income and exposure to the modern world. Foods with high sugar and salt content and inadequate physical activity levels lead to high blood pressure, hypertension, strokes, diabetes and heart attacks.

“Women after menopause are also equally prone to these lifestyle diseases but often their cases go unreported as they don’t reach hospitals as frequently as men,” said Dr Sheeba George, a consultant cardiologist at the city-based Sree Uthradam Thirunal Royal Hospital headed by Dr Chandran.

Doctors at the hospital, who will conduct awareness camps at the city schools on world heart day today besides offering 100 free angiograms and related treatments, suggest a four-point agenda to prevent the risk.

Firstly make this compulsory: Stop smoking tobacco at home to improve your own and your children’s heart health. Do an extra household chore for every cigarette you smoke as a self-imposed punishment.

Secondly, stock your home with healthy food options and start the day with a piece of fruit or prepare your own lunch at home to ensure healthy options are taken to work or school. Make sure every meal contains at least two to three servings of vegetables per person.

Be active. Families should limit the amount of time spent in front of the TV to less than two hours a day. Organise outdoor activities for the family such as cycling, or hiking trips or simply playing in the garden. When possible, instead of using the car, take your bicycle or walk from home to office.

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