Deaths from coronary heart disease in the Indian subcontinent have doubled since 1990 and are expected to rise another 50% by 2030, according to a study.
The death of popular singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, or KK as he was popularly known, in Kolkata on May 31 due to cardiac arrest has highlighted the rising incidence of heart disease and cardiac arrest among relatively young people.
Several other celebrities under the age of 60, including Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar, TV actor Sidharth Shukla and director Raj Kaushal, have recently died of cardiac arrest.
Obituary: KK’s silky vocals worked well for ‘kuthu’, disco and soulful love songs
KK’s autopsy report showed he had a layer of fat around his heart, media said. He further showed that the fatty layer had turned white and the valves were stiff when the heart was opened. As quoted by the media, law enforcement sources spoke of 10 different drugs that treat stomach and liver and vitamin C found in KK’s body along with antacids and acid relief syrups. Ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines have also been found.
However, the trend is not limited to young celebrities. According to a study, deaths from coronary heart disease in the Indian subcontinent have doubled since 1990 and are expected to increase by another 50% by 2030. In fact, around 2.63 million Indians have died from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2017, which was also the leading cause of death in the country.
According to anecdotal data from the experiences of doctors across the country, almost 30% of heart patients are under 40 years old. This figure rises to 40% for people under the age of 50.
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What leads to heart disease?
There are many factors that contribute to the manufacture of heart disease.
It includes type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and related metabolic disorders, which are more prevalent among Indian Asians than Europeans.
A new US study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital has found that Indians and other South Asians are twice as likely to develop heart disease as those of European descent, reports News18.com. They found that 6.8% of participants of South Asian ancestry had a cardiovascular disease event, compared with 4.4% of those of European ancestry.
Other statistics also indicate that young Indians are more vulnerable to heart disease. The Global Burden of Disease study revealed that the death rate from cardiovascular disease in India is 272 per 1,00,000, which is significantly higher than the global average of 235.
A Lancet study published in 2018 showed that the proportion of people who died of coronary heart disease with a diagnosis of pre-existing heart disease increased between 2001 and 2013. However, at least half of these people were not taking any regular medication.
Being vigilant is the key
He found that it could be the combination of poverty, ignorance and lack of access to sound medical advice that lead to heart disease-related deaths in the country.
Early diagnosis and prompt medical intervention could help better manage the disease. For example, excessive sweating can be a sign of a heart attack.
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According to health experts, very few people in their youth or middle age get regular checkups despite the genetic makeup of being more prone to heart disease, according to a report by News18.com.
Additionally, the Indian diet lacks nutrients such as vitamin D and essential fatty acids, including omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential for maintaining a healthy heart and lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels. On the contrary, the consumption of sugar and salt is high, which is not recommended beyond a certain threshold.
According to experts, simply exercising and staying in shape is not enough to have a healthy heart. Increased career, work life and lifestyle stress also play a key role.