40-50 per cent BMTC drivers at risk of heart diseases

Erratic work hours, poor diet intake to blame
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

BENGALURU: Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) drivers are observed to be at risk of cardiovascular diseases with 40-50 percent of them suffering from diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure. 

Dr CN Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research (SJICSR), said the hospital has screened 8,200 BMTC drivers in the past 12-13 months for cardiovascular diseases. The hospital had signed an MoU with BMTC in August 2022 for screening the drivers for heart-related issues. 

All drivers underwent a comprehensive health checkup with blood tests, cardiac stress (treadmill) tests, ECG and echocardiograms (ECHO). The findings from testing 8,200 drivers showed that 40 per cent of them were diabetic, 40 per cent suffered from hypertension and 62 per cent had high blood pressure. The tests also alerted the doctors about 5 per cent drivers who were already facing conditions  like blockages in the heart. Around 35 per cent drivers were also found to be habitual smokers. 

The drivers are prone to suffering from heart-related ailments due to erratic work hours, poor diet intake, lack of exercise and fatigue from continuous sitting during long journeys, Dr Manjunath explained.    

Similar comprehensive health checkups are also being proposed to be extended to Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and police personnel as they are also at high risk of heart-related issues. 

With cardiovascular diseases contributing to 30 per cent of deaths in India, he said it is crucial to screen people at an early stage as it will reduce the mortality rate. It is important to screen BMTC, KSRTC drivers and state police officers as they have a high-stress job and also are exposed to air pollution on a daily basis which is another emerging factor linked with heart-related issues.

Air pollution is not just solely responsible for respiratory issues, but inhalation of particulate matter less than 2.5 mg can easily pass through lungs and create blockage in the arteries. 

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