“DOES it have something to do with climate change?” comes a bewildered question as heart attack seems to be the hot topic for discussion in the past couple of days. Deaths so sudden, not just of celebrities like Michael Jackson in Los Angeles and Lohithadas here in Kochi, but of a colleague, a family friend or a neighbour, have given the jitters to many who take their health for granted.
We tend to associate heart disease with obesity, smoking and lack of exercise, yet not many take the fact seriously that they could be at risk even at a young age. Because heart disease can attack anyone any time.
Many of us are ignorant about the health of our hearts and a good number do not even pause to give it a thought. “It is mainly because we give low priority to our health,” says Dr Jose Chacko Periappuram, cardio thorasic surgeon of Lisie Hospital.
“We are always in a rush, stressed out, anxious about our jobs and trying too hard to meet the expectations of others.
No one knows how to relax, enjoy life, spend time with family and take care of his or her health,” he says.
He points out that our society puts a lot of pressure on individuals to perform.
This situation leads to excessive emphasis on work, a loss of which means a lack of income and troubled tomorrows. Such work pressure is unheard of in developed countries, he says.
“People here have a feeling that they cannot afford to fall sick. So they just ignore the symptoms. And some are too immersed in their daily chores to go for regular health check-ups or modify their lifestyle,” says Dr Jose.
It is estimated that India is likely to account for 60 percent of the patients of heart disease worldwide by 2010.
And what is more alarming is the fact that the disease seem to affect the young, mostly those in the early 30s.
Doctors are concerned by the practice of postponing treatment or surgery just to avoid hospitalisation, prescribed rest and medication. Some people blindly go for unscientific indigenous treatment that promises quick recovery and less inconvenience, but can prove fatal in many cases.
“What we need is to take things easy and take care of our health. Early detection can go a long way in getting the right treatment. And it can ensure more years of life too,” says Dr Jose Chacko.