'India is the diabetes and coronary heart disease capital of the world'

'India is the diabetes and coronary heart disease capital of the world'

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : November 17, 2013 7:36 PM IST

Diabetes-heart diseaseIndia has earned the dubious distinction of becoming the world's capital of coronary heart disease and diabetes, says a wellness expert. Conducting a fitness workshop for journalists at Mumbai Press Club here, leading wellness expert Namita Jain said that several studies exposed the health hazards faced by stress-ridden Indian society. She was speaking on the occasion of 'World Diabetes Day' observed recently. According to the World Congress of Cardiology, it is estimated that by 2020, heart diseases will be the cause of over 40 per cent deaths in India as compared to 24 per cent in 1990.

'World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that nearly 200 million people all over the world suffer from diabetes and this number is likely to double in the coming years. In India, there are nearly 50 million diabetics,' Jain said.

The enormity can be gauged from a recent report that states many heart patients are below the age of 30.

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In a study of 350 heart attack patients conducted by a team of doctors, around 9.5 per cent of cases were below 40 years of age and 3 per cent below 30, she said.

According to the November 2009 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch, as many as 10 per cent of all heart attacks in men occur before the age of 45.

Smoking was invariably a common factor in almost all the young patients. Apart from Smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, stress, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, increasing age, family history are some other factors that increase chances of heart ailments.

Jain also touched upon a common problem experienced by many people - indigestion and acidity. This is due to bad eating and dietary habits, especially when we copy the West in
their eating patterns, whereas we in India have the most complete and wholesome meal - like Thali.

'Digest what you eat, eat slowly, chew well, drink water, and watch what you eat will help in somewhat alienating the problem. Your diet should consist of cereals, fruits / vegetables, proteins and fats', she added.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease refers to a group of diseases that involve the heart and/ or blood vessels. Some of the more common ones are coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. While susceptibility to heart diseases increases with age, gender, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, stress there are many things we can do to improve our cardiovascular health. A low fat, high fibre diet with fruits and veggies, quitting smoking and giving up alcohol coupled with increased physical activity and less stress can go a long way in improving cardiovascular health.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease which is characterised by high blood sugar levels. It can be caused either due to the lack of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or because the body's cells fail to respond to the insulin produced (type 2 diabetes). Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are hunger, frequent urination and increased thirst. While type 1 diabetes is usually genetic, type 2 diabetes is caused more by lifestyle factors. It is one of the common 'lifestyle diseases' which is plaguing people in the developed countries and often has a causal link to heart diseases, hypertension and obesity.

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