Understanding heart diseases – Types, causes, symptoms and preventive measures

Heart disease in India accounts for nearly 60% of the global impact of cardiac health even though India accounts for less than 20 percent of the global population. We can easily prevent many heart diseases by introducing lifestyle modification and regular check-ups after the age of 40-45. After all prevention is better than cure.

Dr. Amol Dharmadhikari is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon in Kolhapur and currently practicing in Aster Aadhar Hospital, Kolhapur. For the past 23 years, he has worked in this field. 

Heart diseases in India

Heart disease is a broad terminology. It has two main categories – Acquired heart disease (blockage in the arteries of the heart or damage to the valves) and congenital heart disease (heart disease by birth such as a hole in the heart)

Symptoms of heart disease

Acquired – 

  • Chest pain on the left side 
  • Shoulder pain
  • Throat pain
  • Back pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Swelling of the lower limbs
  • Cough

Causes of heart disease

Coronary or Ischemic heart disease (IHD or CHD) – It is caused by blockages in the coronary arteries. Blockage arises as a result of atherosclerotic plaque (lipid or cholesterol plaque) that develops inside the blood vessels. This hampers the proper blood flow to the heart. 

Valvular heart disease – Childhood infection later spreads to the heart valves and damages them. Deposition of calcium on the valves of the heart reduces the movement in the valve.

Types of heart disease

Heart disease can be broadly divided into two categories – Acquired and congenital. 

Acquired – IHD and valvular heart disease

Congenital – Hole in the heart, Complex congenital heart disease

Relation between cholesterol and heart disease

Cholesterol is very much required by our body cells to function properly. Most of the cholesterol is produced by the body. 

HDL – Good cholesterol (It takes bad cholesterol to the liver for its metabolism)

LDL – Bad cholesterol (The deposition of bad cholesterol inside the blood vessels decreases the forward flow of blood causing heart disease)

Ways to prevent heart disease

Non modifiable causes 

  • Age – As age advances, the chances of heart disease increases
  • Gender – Male gender is more prone to heart disease
  • Genetic structure of the person – Indians are more prone to heart diseases

Modifiable factors

  • Change of diet (Unhealthy diet) – Junk food, fast food, oily food, processed carbohydrates, and processed fats should be avoided
  • Smoking should be avoided
  • Alcohol intake should be moderate or minimal
  • Regular physical moderate exercise (daily physical exercise for 30 mins)
  • Regular checkup after the age of 40-45 is mandatory

Important points

  • Diabetes is one of the major causes of heart disease.
  • Quitting smoking is highly beneficial for heart diseases and the benefits are clearly visible by the end of two years.
  • Inspite of consuming commercial supplements for heart health, one should focus more on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.

(Edited by Renu Gupta)


Contributed By: Dr. Amol Dharmadhikari, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Aster Aadhaar Hospital
Tags : #Healthcare-Trending-Topics #Heartdiseases #DrAmolDharmadhikari #Asteraadhaarhospital #cardiacdiseases #cardiacissues #IHD #CHD #Cholesterol #Heartandcholesterol #Stroke #Heartattack #Preventingheartdiseases #Diabetes #Hearthealth #Heart #Healthylifestyle #Cardiology #CVD #Modifiableandnonmodifiablefactorsforheartdiseases #Medicircle #SmitaKumar

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