Coronary Artery Disease was considered the number one killer in the Western countries. But in the last few decades, India has emerged as the world capital for heart diseases. There are more people with heart problems in India than anywhere else in the world.
The reasons for this are not yet clear to us, but there are many possibilities. For instance, there has been a considerable enhancement in the richness of diet that our people have been taking over the years. This factor, combined with our notorious reluctance to exercise, the increased prevalence of diabetes, an increase in jobs that are deskbound, and the relative stress of modern urban living, has contributed to the wave of a swelling population of Indians affected with heart problems. All these factors put together lead to a possibility for Indians to have a very high incidence of heart diseases.
It has been estimated that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than white Americans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 percent of the world’s cardiac patients will be Indian by 2010. And according to the International Obesity Task Force, a medical NGO that coordinates with the WHO on obesity issues, of all Asians, South Asians have by far the worst problems when it comes to heart disease.
In comparison with the West, South Asians are affected by cardiovascular related problems at a significantly younger age. Nearly 50 percent of cardiovascular related deaths in India occur below the age of 70, compared with about 22 percent in the West. With such a high proportion of Indians being affected by the disease at a young and productive age group, it has an alarming impact not only on the finances of the affected individual’s family, but also on the nation’s economy. In contrast, most of those killed by heart disease in the US are above retirement age.