Lifestyle major reason for heart problems, says doc

Chennai: Despite several hospitals, experts, government and NGOs creating awareness on cardiovascular diseases, doctors in the city opine that the prevalence of the condition is high, more so because of change in lifestyle and multiple factors linked to it. The experts say that for every 1 lakh of population 300-340 deaths are caused due to cardiac problems. Coronary heart disease and stroke are the most common threats, they say.

Being the carrier of blood to every part of the body, heart is a key organ that is prone to suffer. On World Heart Day, observed today, let us find out more about the organ and how to keep it going.

Speaking to News Today, Fortis Malar Hospital consultant heart failure and interventional cardiologist, Dr E Babu, says, “According to global data, the country has witnessed 30 per cent – 34 per cent rise in cardiovascular diseases whereas in western countries it is congenital obesity.”

Further, he states that cardio diseases are termed as the prime reason leading to death, followed by cancer.

“It is a rising trend in India that is affecting the younger population of the country and the youngest patient with heart attack I have received is a 21-year-old, apart from congenital cases. Until a few years ago, the condition was prevalent in patients aged above 40 years of age,” he explained.


Dr E Babu

The doctor attributes the sudden shift in habitual changes, mainly smoking among the youth population, as the primary reason for cardio diseases.

“When a 40-year-old patient complains of problems of the heart, diabetes could be the reason. But in the case of youngsters, fundamentally, it is the habit of smoking and sedentary lifestyle. However, incidence of type-2 diabetes is also slowly creeping into the adolescent population,” he points out.

In addition, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey of 2016-2017 states that one in every five adult who worked indoors was exposed to second-hand smoke at the workplace in Tamilnadu.

“Globally, tobacco causes over 2 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases every year. Breathing secondhand smoke also causes coronary heart disease, including heart attack,” opines Consumer Voice chief operating officer Ashim Sanyal.


Owing to the depletion of estrogen levels right from young age, the doctor states that type-2 diabetes is on the rise in women. When the level is uncontrolled, it may lead to multiple complications such as cholesterol, damaging the blood vessels of lungs, heart and kidney, et al, and chances of leading to coronary artery disease is high.

“Among women, diabetes hits only after menopause as the estrogen hormone helps keep it at bay. Now, owing to the prevalence of ischemia, the protective nature of estrogen is lost, leading to varying insulin levels,” says Dr Babu.

The carbohydrate-rich and dairy diet is a factor that contributes a fair share to diabetes.

The patients slowly give up medication once they feel they are maintaining their insulin levels. As diabetes is quoted as one of the major reasons for getting heart-related ailments, the doctor states that withdrawal of tablets could affect the blood vessels going to the heart, brain and kidney and lead to hypertension, he adds.

The life of adults is constricted to four walls: PC, travelling back and forth in a comfortable vehicle, consuming fast food and taking carbonated fizz drinks which contribute to accumulation of stress. Hormonal alteration can be witnessed in people who work in night shift, he said.


The doctor opines that life expectancy rate has increased in the last few decades. ‘Technological advancement has made it possible to treat rare maladies which has led to the rise in life expectancy and the demand to find solutions to complex cases is also high,’ he stated.


Coronary heart disease:

Angina (chest pain) due to exertion
Shortness of breath


Weakness of upper and lower limbs
Affects the total body, resulting in stiffening of muscles

Dr Jacob Jamesraj


It’s not cross your heart and make a promise! It’s rather ‘tick’ your heart and make a promise. It’s World Heart Day and traditionally it is a day to renew your commitment to your heart, says Madras Medical Mission senior cardiac surgeon, Dr Jacob Jamesraj.
It is one’s foremost responsibility to keep the mechanism of this engine (heart) well-oiled and run smoothly. A balanced, heart-friendly diet goes a long way to strengthen the heart. The cardiac surgeon suggests how to keep a healthy heart:

* Avoid too much processed food and trans fats. Red meat is better avoided. A healthy combination of veggies, fruits and poultry is advised.
* Brisk walking and a cool approach to problems relaxes one’s heart and keeps it going.
* It is one’s responsibility to keep a family healthy in every way. A regular health check is a must.
* Disciplined driving not just reduces accidents but leads to a stress-free road which in itself is a road to good health.

Dr Jacob Jamesraj can be reached at 2656 8000 and check out

Bhavani Prabhakar