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'Lifestyle key to prevention of heart attack'

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI SEPT. 21. Cardiologists at a public awareness programme here today emphasised the need for lifestyle modification in preventing heart attack.

``Indians develop coronary heart disease at a younger age than people in developed countries and Singapore. Deaths owing to this disease is three times higher in India than in other countries,'' said N. Sivakadaksham, Director, Harvey Heart Hospital, which organised the programme. The risk posed by the disease was so high that the World Health Organisation declared that it would become an epidemic in India by 2020, he said.

A stress-filled sedentary life was one of the main causes of heart diseases. Scientific studies showed that when a person moved from a village to city his chances of getting heart attack went up by 30 per cent. Other causes included hypertension, diabetes, obesity and consumption of nicotine, he said.

However, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and a moderate diet could control the risk factors and prevent heart attack, said endocrinologist, S. Murthy. Cautioning the public against going in for quick remedy `herbal' drinks and `electronic devices' that promised weight loss, he said ``they produce several serious side-effects, including kidney failure. Their efficiency has never been proved.'' Medicine for weight loss and surgery was an extreme step that should only be taken in consultation with doctors.

Sesikaran, Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition, asked the public to avoid hydrogenated fats such as vanaspathi and dalda as they reduced the ability of blood vessels to dilate and reduced levels of good cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein). Even sunflower oil should be taken in limited quantity. Groundnut oil and rice bran oil should also be used. Sunflower oil, though low in cholesterol content, was high in fatty acids and reduced the good cholesterol, he said.

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