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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Just one way to keep your heart ticking

Tiny NairPreventive medicine can save many people from heart diseases, the cardiologist tells C. Maya



Ask him a few tips to keep the heart hale and hearty. Tiny Nair, chief cardiologist at PRS Hospital in the city and recipient of the State Government's Best Doctor Award, 2003, has but one answer: "Stop smoking." "There is a combination of factors, but tobacco can do more harm to your heart than all others put together," he says.

Dr. Nair, who was chosen for the award from the private health sector, says Kerala is much behind in promoting preventive medicine. "Our concentration has always been on critical care, when an illness is in a full-blown state. Some attention to preventive medicine can save a lot of people before they become heart patients," he says. "Almost 90 per cent of those who go for morning walks on the museum grounds have had some health problems, before they started the practice. How many of those who are apparently healthy will exercise regularly? Healthcare providers should be encouraged to spend some time on prevention activities," Dr. Nair says.

Though one does not know the exact reason yet, the incidence of heart attacks is more in South Indians, especially Keralites. "The peak incidence of heart attacks among Keralites is between 35 and 45 years, when a person is in his prime. The bottom line is that once a person crosses age 40, annual health check-up is a must," Dr. Nair says. Many studies in the U.S. have shown that 95 per cent of all heart attacks are caused by known factors. Which means that correcting these factors can prevent almost 95 per cent of heart attacks, he points out.

Regularly monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol; reduce mental stress and engage in at least 15 minutes of vigorous exercise daily. He suggests that small kiosks for checking basic health parameters be set up in places such as railway stations. He says the role of the private healthcare sector in the State has been established now. Dr. Nair joined PRS Hospital in 1990 and has been involved in establishing and developing cardiology specialty. Too much of super-specialisation is not good, he feels.

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