'Currently India is home to at least 60 million coronary heart patients and nearly two million patients are succumbing to the disease every year,' renowned cardiologist Naresh Trehan said on World Heart Day Sunday.
'The burden of the disease will weigh heavily on the economic backbone of the country unless people bring a change in their lifestyles. Along with the loss in human capital, the country's economy will suffer on account of loss in working days and treatment costs,' Trehan said.
According to doctors, people should quit smoking and stay away from alcohol. Indians also need to walk daily and take the stairs rather than the elevator. A nap after lunch will help. Equally important: be clam, reduce stress. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has earlier told IANS that his ministry was concerned over the growing threat of the disease. 'India is the diabetes capital of the world and the heart ailments too are becoming a big headache. People just need to be a little cautious to avoid such problems,' Ramadoss had said. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, India's economic loss due to heart related disease could be $236 billion by 2015. While Russia may lose $303 billion, China is expected to lose over $550 billion in the next decade. Over 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke every year. Contrary to popular belief, over 80 percent of the deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries. According to data available with the health ministry, the prevalence of coronary heart diseases among the urban population was far more than rural areas. Metros like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are more prone to such problems.
T.S. Kler, executive director of Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, advised young people to quit smoking and stay away from alcohol.
'Now, begin your day with a small walk and ensure you take the stairs instead of the elevator. Begin an exercise regime and do it regularly,' Kler recommended.
He advised people to consult a doctor if one gains three or more pounds in one day, or five or more pounds in one week. 'To give your heart rest, try napping after lunch or putting your feet up for a few minutes every couple of hours and remember to put your feet up while watching TV. Quit smoking and be assured you will eliminate a major source of stress on your heart,' Kler said.
Elaborating on the benefits of yoga, he said: 'Try your hand at meditation or yoga. Take 15-20 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and think peacefully. We must reduce stress, count to 10 before responding while feeling annoyed or angry.'