As she inaugurated the first national annual conference of the 'Heart Failure Society' at Hyderabad, Lakshmi pointed out the high costs of treating lifestyle diseases. She went on to state that the Centre was planning to set up AIIMS-styled institutions in six States as well assist in upgrading medicare in other States.
Lakshmi bemoaned the tertiary care facilities in the public sector as few and far between. Poorer sections, who could not afford expensive Medicare in private hospitals, are the victims, the Minister said.
"I would, therefore, also appeal to you to go to their rescue by offering subsidized services, as part of your social responsibility", she was quoted.
While pointing out that heart failure was one of the many cardio-vascular ailments which assumed epidemic proportions, Lakshmi, quoting an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study, said that cerebral stroke (brain hemorrhage) claimed 6.39 lakh lives and heart diseases 5.54 lakh lives every year.
"What is of greater concern is that these lifestyle diseases are attacking people in the prime of their life," she commented.
Lakshmi observed that the time had come for the Government and the medical fraternity to work together in promoting public awareness, so that ailments could be prevented to a large extent through changes in lifestyle and necessary medication.
Hypertension, diabetes, smoking, drinking, obesity and sedentary life (all of which contribute to cardio-vascular ailments) could be controlled or modified, she said
K.K. Talwar, president of the society, while referring to the enormity of the problem of cardiovascular diseases in the country, called for an integrated approach in their evaluation and management.
A.G.K.Gokhale, general secretary, Emilio Vanoli, associate professor of cardiology, University of Pavia (Italy), were among the speakers.