There is good news on the health front. A leading cardiologist says incidents of heart disease in India are set to plateau in seven to eight years and then fall due to greater awareness about a healthy lifestyle and more effective drugs.
“People are cutting down on salt intake, a development that is sure to bring down now rampant cases of high blood pressure,” said Dr Vinay Sanghi, of Fortis Escorts Hospital.
“More patient friendly medication with few side effects is also now available,” he said. “People also understand the necessity of exercising every day.
“All these three factors should cut down the number of those who face the risk of heart ailment,” said Sanghi, who returned to India after serving in the US from 1995 to 2010.
Heart disease is considered a sign of prosperity, mostly accruing to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, devoid of even giving minimal exercise to their body.
Heart diseases have now become the number one killer in India, replacing communicable diseases from that slot. A quarter of those who get heart attacks are in the 25-69 age group.
Increasingly, heart ailments are killing Indians both in urban and rural areas, although the fatalities are more in cities and towns.
“The cycle of heart disease has started. The number should plateau in seven to eight years, from which point it will start to decline. All of us will see a definite change in a decade,” Sanghi said.
For now, the number of heart diseases was “rising alarmingly”. The total number of cases was more than in the developed world, he said.
“Heart diseases occur mostly in Tier I and II cities. New cases are very high — for now.
“The good news is people are realising the need to maintain healthy lifestyle, keep away from salty snacks and fast food, go for more physical activity, and take a morning walk. There is increasing awareness. “More than anything else, it is this self-realization that will help India in the long run.”