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Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to world health organization (WHO), India contributes to 20% to CVD deaths in younger people. Recent celebrity deaths in the younger age group due to cardiac failure has sparked a discussion on Indian heart health among health care providers and general population alike.

Is heart health governed by genes or environment?

Adult-onset cardiac conditions are the result of a combination of environmental risk factors such as age, stressful environment, smoking, obesity, sleeping habits, etc and hereditary risk like family history of heart attack.

The writing on our DNA

In a recent interview, nation’s leading cardiologist Dr. Devi Shetty, founder and chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya, has brought to the fore, an alarming health fact that every Indian should be aware of. Indians are at three times more genetic risk for heart attack compared to Europeans.

Conditions that affect heart health such as hypercholesterolemia, are caused by variations in specific genes. However, recent studies indicate that there could be an involvement of variations in several genes in the manifestation of CVD. Researchers have developed a polygenic approach to calculate a cumulative score derived from about 6 million sites from the genome that can determine an individual’s risk for developing a heart attack.

Is gym enough?

It is common knowledge that adapting a healthy lifestyle is key to healthy living and prevention of cardiac events. However, top cardiologists observe that there is an increasing misconception among the youth, that working out for a period of time in the gym can compensate for other habits that contribute to cardiac conditions. But that’s not true. Heart health depends on a holistic approach. In fact, it is necessary to determine the condition of the heart before subjecting it to intense workout regimes.

How to prevent heart attack?

According to Dr. Devi Shetty, every Indian above 40 years of age is a heart patient unless proven otherwise. As scary as it may sound, he also advices that many of the premature cardiac deaths could be prevented by doing three cardiac tests– ECG, echocardiogram and CT angiogram. Genetic condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be detected by 2D-echocardiography.

It is even possible to find out if you are genetically at higher risk for developing a heart attack using a polygenic risk score (PRS) test.

Advancements in medical knowledge and facilities offer us opportunities to find the right balance that can enable us to lead a healthy life. All that we need to do is avail them.

Further reading

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-every-40-year-old-indian-male-is-a-heart-patient-unless-proven-otherwise/articleshow/87511332.cms

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