People living in the plains, especially in cities, continue to face threats of cardiovascular diseases. Dr Rahul Kumar Sharma, state programme officer (non-communicable diseases) at Assam NHM, said that among diseases, hypertension and diabetes are found to be strongly related to CVD. As per the health ministry’s health and family welfare statistics in India 2019-20, in Assam, prevalence of hypertension among men and women (between 15 and 49 years) are 18% and 20.8% respectively. The corresponding figures for men and women in the same age group with high blood sugar are 6.6% and 5.2% respectively. “Cardiovascular stroke and heart related ailments have increased due to the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes to a large extent,” said Sharma.
According to a report, cardio-vascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives every year. The day is commemorated to promote different preventive steps and changes in lifestyle to avoid any cardio-vascular diseases, like heart-attack, stroke, heart failure and any other condition related to the same.
Dr Chinmoy Mazumder, a well known cardiologist in Guwahati, felt it is important to raise awareness about the disease whenever there is any scope to do so. “This year on World Heart Day, we are asking the world to use the heart to connect. Harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases globally is the goal of ‘World Heart Day’ 2021,” said Mazumder.
“Use heart to connect is about using your knowledge, compassion, and influence to make sure that we, our loved ones and the communities we are part of, have the best chance to live heart-healthy lives. This year there are three different pillars – equity, prevention and community,” he added.
People living with cardiovascular disease have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 last year.
Mazumder cautioned that disconnected hearts are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke due to lack of access to cardiovascular disease prevention, treatment and control. “So use heart to connect every heart. We should look after our heart by eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco and getting plenty of exercise,” he said.
The Heart Care Society of Assam observes World Heart Day by organising awareness programmes and free health check-up camps in different areas of the state all throughout the month. The aim of such programmes is to communicate and inform the public about prevention, detection and treatment of heart diseases.
Dr Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, senior cardiologist and president of HCSA, said several risk factors are modifiable and thus CVDs can be preventable in many cases. “Diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol problem and weight are the risk factors for CVDs but can be controlled. Unfortunately all these start affecting the health simultaneously in many cases,” he cautioned, urging people to consume a healthy diet and live an active lifestyle.