Not so young at heart

NEW DELHI: Raising an alarm over the surge in heart diseases among young Indians, healthcare professionals stressed the need for hospitals and healthcare centres to have dedicated heart failure clinics that can diagnose the disease at an early stage and ensure right treatment.
Cardiologists said, Indians are 10 times more likely to die of a heart disease than those living in other parts of the world. Worse, as per the Interheart Study, 50% of patients dying of heart failure are under 50 years of age. This was highlighted by doctors speaking at the Beat Heart Failure Initiative, organised by The Times of India in collaboration with Novartis India, in Hyderabad on Monday.

"Unfortunately, we see grandparents bringing their grandchildren to hospital with symptoms of heart ailments these days. Earlier, it was the other way around. Now, people as young as 30 are suffering heart attacks,” said Dr M Srinivas Rao, cardiologist at Care Hospital, reiterating the need for specialised heart failure clinics in hospitals to ensure the disease does not progress to the next stage. Dr Rao estimates that 40% of people in India who develop heart-related ailments are under the age of 50.

Another cause for concern: more than 50% heart failure cases are either misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed in India, doctors said.

Dr Sarat Chandra, consultant cardiologist at Virinchi Hospital, Hyderabad, and president of the Cardiological Society of India said, “It should be made mandatory for all children to play in schools, at least for an hour. With the invent of corporate schools that do not even have a small playground, children these days do not invest any time in playing outdoors. We need to give them time to play, if you do that, they will grow up to be healthy people."
Dr Chandra also stressed the importance of training nurses in government and private medical facilities so that they can identify early symptoms of heart failure. “Along with setting up dedicated heart failure clinics, the hospital staff including nurses must be trained on how to raise a red flag when a patient comes with Edima (swelling of legs) or fluid in the feet or breathlessness, so that heart failures are diagnosed early on,” he said.

To reduce the burden of heart diseases significantly, cardiologists called for timely detection and treatment of causative factors such as diabetes and hypertension, as well.
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