A new report finds women and youth under the age of 25 are more prone to several heart diseases.
"Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in India and Asia. It has increasingly affected younger people and women over the last 10 to 15 years," said Peeyush Jain, head of the department of preventive cardiology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
"The spike in cardiac diseases in youth is due to sedentary and stressful lifestyle that accompany high pressure jobs. Unhealthy diets and addictions like smoking and tobacco chewing are added factors," he said.
"With changing social norms, women today enjoy an equal footing in society and are working longer hours, shouldering greater stress and dual responsibility of home and career. All these aspects exacerbate the early onset of the disease."
The report titled "State of the Indian Heart" said that in 2004-2011, there has been an increase from 3.5 percent to 8.7 percent in heart disease cases among people below 45 years.
"With over three million deaths due to cardiovascular diseases every year, India will likely be the heart disease capital of the world, in a few years. It is estimated that by 2020, cardiovascular disease will be the cause of over 40 percent deaths," said institute chairman Ashok Seth.
According to the report, the percentage of women undergoing heart bypass surgeries has also increased from six percent in the 1980s-90s to 15 percent in the past four years.
There has also been a phenomenal rise in the number of paediatric cardiac surgeries. From three cases in 1988, the number has increased to 1,869 cases in 2013.
Wih this objective, the Fortis institute has launched a year-long preventive campaign titled "The Fortis Escorts Strong Hearts" programme to educate men and women in their 20s and 30s who may be susceptible to such diseases.
The institute will engage with colleges, corporates and BPOs to encourage youths to follow a healthy lifestyle and conduct heart disease screenings.