How to prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD)?

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are referred to a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They are one of the leading causes of death in India with an estimated prevalence of 4.5 million. According to studies, CVDs with ischemic heart disease is root cause for one in four deaths in India.

The rise in number of cardiovascular diseases in India is attributed to factors like urbanisation, change in food habits, sedentary lifestyle, stressful working hours, and addiction to smoking and tobacco. The ischemic heart disease is no longer an old-age disease as it is now becoming more and more common in younger population. If this trend continues, then we will lose a significant number of working populations affecting the growth of our progressive nation.

CVDs are on rise due to modifiable risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, smoking, dyslipidaemia, etc. and nonmodifiable factors like family history, age, genetics, gender race and ethnicity. Indians are at more risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease like heart attach and stroke compared to others because of our genetic make-up.

What is the solution to CVD’s? American Academy of Cardiology has given a 7-point formula for leading healthy lifestyle to fight against CVDs. They are as follows:
1) Never smoke or Quit smoking as soon as possible
2) Having a BMI (body mass index) of less than 25 kg/m2.
3) Exercising at a moderate level for at least 150 minutes, or at an intense level for 75 minutes per week.
4) Maintaining healthy diet as per AHA guidelines.
5) Having a total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL.
6) Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.
7) Fasting blood glucose below 100 mg/dL.

Secondary prevention of CVDs includes treatment of heart attack or heart failure. Treatment includes procedures like angioplasty or bypass, medicines to control blood pressure, sugar, blood thinners for cholesterol control, etc. In some cases of heart failure patient needs to take multiple medicines and hospitalization leading to a financial burden for patient or family. Hence, it’s important for individuals to maintain a balanced life and avoid CVD risk factors by following a healthy lifestyle.