I am the Terminator not Arnold Schwarzenegger. I kill more than 15 million people a year worldwide. Now beat that, Arnie? I'm that sneaky little killer you call - The Heart Attack.
Indians, watch out! The World Health Organisation says by 2010, about 60 per cent of all heart patients will be Indians. There's more 'good news': India is pegged as the Heart Attack Capital of tomorrow!
Your hearts are getting weaker and weaker in the big cities. So you traded a hard outdoor life for a cushy desk job? Good for you! Now you burn less of what you eat and all that cholesterol goes straight up your arteries. Good for me!
Almost 11 per cent of the urban Indian population suffers from one coronary disease or the other.
But in many industrialised countries, the death toll by heart attacks has dropped.
I just have to say, a Big Thank-You, to all the low and middle income countries of Asia. They keep me busy!
But why hate me, people? This is who I am and what I do. I am the Enemy. To be fair, let me clue you in. Don't say I didn't warn you.
When I strike the likely Symptoms are:
1. Discomfort in the centre of the chest
2. Feels like something is squeezing, pressing, crushing
3. Pain may radiate to the left arm, right arm, both arms, back, neck or jaws
4. You may have breathing difficulties, palpitations, extreme sweating or feel very weak
When I Attack your Heart, typically it's Quick and Sudden. And the one mistake most of you make, is to pass me off as 'Gas'!
Men are my preferred targets when it comes to the most common heart disease that involves blockage in the arteries.
But you are all on My Hit-List, if you have:
1. Hypertension – High Blood Pressure
2. Diabetes – High Blood Sugar
3. Hypercholesterolemia – High Blood Fat
Other Risk Factors:
2. High Fat Diet
3. Low Levels of Activity
4. No Exercise
5. High Levels of Stress
For all you Smokers, I have a Mandatory Warning:
Smoking + Cardiac Ailments = Fatal
So if you want to Live, remember this equation.
A non-smoker may survive a heart attack and make it to hospital. But for a smoker, there's a 100 per cent chance, that when I strike, your time is up.
If you can't quit Alcohol, then stick to One Peg a Day. Not more. Whisky is very popular in India, so one peg should do.
But a glass of wine is excellent. It contains flavonoids and antioxidants, it dilates the arteries, it reduces hypertension. But again, don't overdo it.
To keep me at bay, Prevention is key. Here's what you can do:
1. Control your diet; A High-fibre, Low-fat, preferably vegetarian diet is great
2. Cut down: Animal Fats, Red Meats, Yellow of Eggs
3. Cut down: Diary Fat which is desi ghee, makhan, malai, khoya, paneer, mithai, ice cream, sweets, pastries, cakes, chocolates.
4. Cut down: Trans Fats, popularly known as Dalda in our country. Many things commercially sold in markets are made from Dalda.
5. Exercise regularly, there's no substitute to this. Exercise at least 40 minutes a day, five days a week. It could be a brisk daily walk, a little bit of yoga, a little bit of stretching, 10 minutes on the treadmill, swimming or sports
6. Keep Blood Pressure / Diabetes in Control
7. Manage Stress /Get Sufficient Sleep
If you love your Heart, you'll follow these Commandments. If not, I may just come calling. Ciao!