Dr Bimal Chhajer
Heart Disease is the leading cause of worldwide deaths with the number reaching more than 17.9 million every year. Many people wonder whether we are losing the war against this deadly disease because heart disease rates continue to grow despite improvements in medical technology and therapies.
Thus, there is a dire need to examine the state of the fight against heart disease today, the reasons why education, specifically in the form of a vaccine, may hold the key to defeating it, the difficulties we have in avoiding it, and what we can do to change this.
The Extent of the Epidemic of Heart Disease
Coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and stroke are just a few of the numerous diseases that go under the umbrella term “heart disease.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 31% of all deaths globally in 2016 were due to heart disease plus it is the biggest killer in the United States and other developing nations like India. Most hospitals are there to capitalize on your health through misinformation, overcharging, unnecessary tests, and costly angiography and bypass surgeries.
It is important for patients to be informed about their rights, to be aware of those rights, and to speak out for their health. This doesn’t mean that all hospitals or healthcare providers follow these procedures; many of them, including us, work hard to treat & cure heart patients and put their needs first.
Defeating Heart Disease: The Challenges
Heart disease rates are still increasing despite our greatest attempts to prevent it. Following are some of the difficulties we will face while preventing heart disease:
1. Difficulty making lifestyle changes: heart disease is caused by unhealthy routines like smoking, poor diets, insufficient exercise, and excessive levels of stress. Making healthy lifestyle changes is challenging, especially in the face of hectic schedules and poor food options, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do them.
2. Lack of awareness: One of the main reasons we are failing in our fight against heart disease is that many people do not see the value of taking preventative steps.
3. Aging populations: As populations get older, cardiac disease is predicted to become more common, putting further strain on already overburdened healthcare systems.
4. Cost and access to care: Treating heart disease can be costly, and many individuals lack access to high-quality medical care, particularly in low- and middle-income nations.
5. Unsuccessful Treatments: Some heart disease treatments currently available like angioplasty & bypass surgery are not as successful as they should be, which causes recurrent episodes and lower quality of life.
6. Lack of information and research: Heart disease continues to be severely understudied, especially in low- and middle-income nations, which makes it difficult to properly identify, treat, and prevent the condition.
We can avoid heart disease by following the steps below:
1. Adopting Zero-Oil Cooking: Encourage people to adopt a diet reduced in sodium, added sweets, and saturated and trans fats (oils) to help lower their chance of developing heart disease.
2. Quit smoking: By offering resources for quitting smoking, people’s risk of heart disease can be greatly decreased.
3. Stress Management: Finding healthy ways to handle stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or counseling, is important because chronic stress can worsen heart disease.
4. Screening and Addressing Risk Factors: Heart disease can be prevented by identifying and treating risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
5. Limiting alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can raise your chance of developing heart disease.
6. Encouraging regular physical activity: By enhancing cardiovascular health and lowering weight, regular physical activity can help minimize the risk of heart disease & 30-minute brisk walk.
7. Keeping a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese will raise your risk of heart disease.
Importance of Education Vaccine
There is hope, even though heart disease is a complicated issue. Education and prevention are the keys to stopping heart disease and minimizing its effects on our lives.
Here, the idea of an “Education-vaccine against heart disease” comes in. To address the underlying causes of the problem, empower people to take charge of their health, and reduce the cases of heart disease, we must immunize people with information and tools to avoid heart disease. To lower people’s risk of heart disease, this educational vaccine would emphasize in educating people on the value of healthy lifestyle practices. This covers the advantages of physical activity, a balanced diet, and the necessity of routine checkups and medical tests. We are working continuously to educate our nation free of cost through various online (like YouTube, Social Media, webinars, blogs, etc.) and offline (like camps, print media, posters & hoardings, etc.) ways to avoid heart disease.
The heart disease education vaccine has the potential to significantly reduce the cases of heart disease. By educating people on the value of preventative measures, we can give them the tools they need to take charge of their health and lower their risk of heart disease. This would, in turn, result in a decline in the incidence of heart disease and a decline in the number of deaths due to this disease.
In conclusion, we can say that the fight against heart disease is successful as we have the chance to address the underlying cause of the disease and lower the prevalence of heart disease by spreading awareness amongst the people about the ways to take care of their hearts. Every single one of us must take care of our health and prevent heart disease. We can defeat heart disease by raising awareness and educating people about it. And through our combined efforts, we can make heart disease disappear from our lives, permanently.
(The author is Director, SAAOL Heart Centre, New Delhi)
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