The Incidence of heart attacks has been increasing at an alarming rate in our country in the last three decades. Though no definite statistical data is available from our country it has been my experience that about 15% of our patients who sustain heart attacks are below the age of 40 years. It is not an uncommon experience in our consulting rooms or hospitals that a 70 years old man brings his son of 40 years of age with a heart attack. In the two large hospitals i.e., L.T.M.G, Hospital and Nanavati Hospital of Mumbai, close to about 3,000 patients are admitted with heart attacks every year. From our experience we find that in the individuals above the age of 40 years, about 3 to 4% of them may be affected with ischaemic heart disease. Such a high incidence, in our opinion is related to the severe stressful situations existing in the modern life and also due to the increased incidence of consumption of tobacco and improper control of hypertension. Since the disease affects the people in the prime of their career, and mostly bread-earners of the family, the economy of this country in general and the socio-economic balance of the family are greatly affected. It is, therefore, imperative that measures are token on war—footing to fight this giant killer; ischaemic heart disease. In the western world, specially in America, this fight against the coronary heart disease is showing very fruitful results and the incidence of coronary heart disease has fallen down steadily in the last 10 years. This has been achieved by taking preventive measures like regular exercise, control of hypertension, changing the dietary habits from high cholesterol to low cholesterol diet, stopping of smoking cigarettes and avoiding tobacco in any form. In our country these measures should be instituted forthwith.
It is very heartening to find that an excellent book entitled PREVENT HEART DISEASE AND PROLONG LIFE by Dr. D. R. Gala, Dr. Dhiren Gala and Dr. Sanjay Gala is being published by Gala Publishers. I have gone through the book and find that the text is beautifully written. It highlights the excellent results of surgery. The authors have also covered the ever increasing scope of balloon angloplasty for treating the coronary heart disease. I do hope that this book will be useful for the readers, and will go a long way in preventing heart attacks.
In modern times the incidence of heart disease is rising steadily. In the United States of America, of the total deaths, 50% are due to heart disease. Yet only five decades ago this rate was lust 10%.
This disease has made inroads into Indian cities us well, Of late, the rate of incidence of heart disease in the big cities of our country has been rising at an alarming pace. In Mumbai, for instance, of the 53,000 deaths registered during the year 1985, 18,000 were due to heart disease. Compared to cities, our villages are still free from this menace. Why is the incidence of heart disease higher in cities than in villages? Why is its incidence higher in the United States of America than in India?
Answers to these questions are now slowly unfolding. One thing is clear that this disparity is man-made. It is the result of modern living and process of urbanization’s
The most tragic aspect of heart disease is that the part of the heart which is damaged by a heart attack can never be satisfactorily repaired once again. It may get healed with ordinary cells; but those cells are not like the original cells of the heart. Consequently, the heart becomes weak forever.
Another tragic aspect of the heart attack is that it strikes persons when they are at the peak of their careers. Many people succumb to the very first attack and depart for their Heavenly Abode.
That is why it is very important that heart disease should be prevented and not allowed to strike. It is easy to avoid a heart attack by acquiring scientific information about the factors causing it and by taking preventive measure in times. In the following chapters there is a detailed analysis about all the possible measures to prevent hart disease.
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