World heart day : Heart disease a major concern worldwide: WHO

Nepalis living stressful lives sans healthy diet’

Kathmandu, September 23 :

The increasing trend of eating junk foods, the excessive use of tobacco and stressful lifestyles led by people are leading to increased instances of heart diseases and thus shortening life spans, the global health body, World Health Organisation (WHO), said.

In two decades, the number of heart patients have gone up by five times in the country,

yet little has been done to reduce the threat posed by heart diseases.

Globally, heart disease threatens to be the number one killer disease by 2020, according to the World Health Organisation but nothing has been done to minimise the threat.

Even though 80 per cent of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable just by controlling three major risk factors — diet, physical activity and tobacco use — it has been highly ignored.

“Just a little disciplined lifestyle could do wonders,” said Dr Abani Bhusan Upadhyaya, president of Nepal Heart Foundation (NHF).

He said if parents could check the eating habits of their children from a very early age, the increasing rate of deaths due to heart diseases could be checked.

“The lifestyles of Nepalis are changing so much that they are living very stressful lives with very less physical exercise and lack of healthy diet which are the major reasons for heart diseases,” said Dr Upadhyaya.

“The negligence of sore throat alone could lead to heart disease that demands very

expensive treatment,” said Dr Upahyaya.

The theme of World Heart Day (WHD) tomorrow is ‘How young is your Heart’.

Of the total heart patients admitted in the hospitals across the country, 40 per cent have coronary heart disease, 28 per cent Rheumatic heart disease, 29 per cent for high blood pressure, according to the various studies conducted by Nepal Heart Foundation

and the Ministry of Health and Population.

Besides that, Cardiomiopathy caused due to excessive alcohol consumption is an increasing trend these days.

Five years ago, around six people of 1,000 population were reported suffering from Cardiomiopathy, while it has gone up to 20 people of every 1,000 of the population.

Of the targeted 18,000, the number reached 56,792 in the Out Patient Department of Sahid Gangalal Heart National Center (SGHNC) and In-Patient Department in 2005, while 41,274 patients visited the hospital for treatment of the targeted number 17,000 in 2004.

Regular exercise can reduce the risk of strokes by over 25

per cent and the risk of coronary heart diseases by over 40 per cent.

Incredibly, the hearts of veteran athletes aged 50-70 have been found to be as strong and healthy as those of an inactive 20 year-old, according to World Heart Federation.

“Timely intervention and awareness about the disease could save the lives of many,” said Dr Bhagwan Koirala, executive director of Sahid Gangalal Heart National Center.

He said that the hospital is planning to provide medical services at minimal cost to the needy people.

Heart disease is considered as one of the most expensive one starting from a minimum of Rs 15,000 for close heart surgery in government hospital, while it costs Rs 50,000 for the same in a private hospital.

The expense for changing a pace maker is Rs 1,15000 in a government hospital, while it comes to around Rs 1 lakh 50,000 in a private hospital, according to the Nepal Heart Foundation.

Dr Nirakar Man Shrestha, focal person of Non-Communicable Disease prevention and control unit, said the government has started providing penicillin to such patients to check rheumatic heart diseases along with introducing a package of free treatment for children under 15.

For rheumatic heart disease, the government has provided Rs 30 lakh as token money for penicillin.

Situation of Kathmanduites :

• High blood pressure: 20 per cent adult population

• Diabetes: 3 per cent

• Coronary heart disease: 5 per cent adult (40 years and above)

• Smoking: around 50 per cent population

• Around 15 per cent of the total population suffering from heart disease

• Coronary heart disease: 5 per cent

• Congenital heart disease: 1.2 per 1,000 children

• Rheumatic heart disease: 1.3 per 1,000 children