Throbbing Hearts

Changing lifestyle in villages has brought a sea change in cardio vascular disease trends. Heart disease, which has been an urban phenomenon, has become a troublemaker in rural India today. DR KK AGGARWAL of Heart Care Foundation of India talks to MOHD MUSTAQUIM about the way outs and preventions of heart attacks.

Throbbing Hearts

Cardiovascular disease has traditionally been an urban ailment so far. However, the trend is fast changing and rural inhabitants are fast catching up with this growing disease due to change in the lifestyle pattern. Life in villages is getting changed, people are shifting from farm jobs to non-farm jobs. They are becoming technology savvy and imitating urban way of life. Gradually, there is rise in the people having cardio vascular diseases in Indian villages.

According to Dr KK Aggarwal, who is president of Heart Care Foundation of India, today heart patients from rural areas consist of around 45 per cent of the total reported cases, which is quite alarming.

Changing rural lifestyle and adopting urban habits is transforming rural India as centre stage of cardiovascular diseases. It has become a leading cause of deaths in the hinterlands of the country and according to a recent study of University of Toronto, around 23 percent deaths in rural India are occurred because of heart diseases.

Dr. Aggarwal talks about the changing scenario and describes his own experience, “During the period of 1975-1980, I studied at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) Sewagram in Wardha near Nagpur, a typically rural area. In more than 8.5 year of my stay, I only saw a couple of heart attack patients in those days. Then, I joined Moolchand Hospital in Delhi in 1983 and I started screening atleast two heart patients every day. Today, when I go to my medical college, I find that heart disease has increased substantially in that area.”

Padma Shri and Dr BC Roy National Awardee, Dr Aggarwal describes that the primary reasons behind the increasing number of heart patients are the traditional risk factors like smoking, faulty dietary habits, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled blood pressure and stress.

He further says on the changing habits, “In villages, more and more people are shifting from complex to refined carbohydrates. We can see village youths getting influenced by junk fund due to rise in outlets of McDonald and Pizza Hut in smaller towns in their neighbourhood. The more they will eat white sugar, white rice and white maida, the more they will end up in insulin resistance and heart diseases. Also in villages, less people are running or doing agriculture-based jobs of late. Lack of exercise along with refined carbohydrates eating is responsible for high incidence of heart diseases.”

The number one risk factor today is high levels of insulin in the blood and insulin resistance which means insulin is high in the blood and still not functioning. The reason is eating refined carbohydrates and bad animal fat.

He adds, “Traditionally, rural people used to fast once in a week and not eat carbohydrates on that day. Today, people are not observing fast and end up eating carbohydrates which is again responsible for increase in heart diseases.”

Any chest pain which is localised, can be pinpointed by finger or is of less than 30 seconds of duration is not a heart attack pain. Typically, heart attack pain is diffused and lasts for more than 30 seconds. Whether in a village or an urban area, if anybody suspects that he is suffering from heart attack, he suggests chewing 300 mg of water soluble aspirin and going to the nearby hospital as early as possible. Chewing of tablet alone can reduce the chances of heart attack. As facility of primary angioplasty may not be available in the villages, they also should be given intravenous clot dissolving therapy and then transfer to higher centre.

Keeping in view the increasing cardiovascular diseases in rural areas and lack of high end heart care hospitals, Dr Aggarwal has developed a formula of 80 and suggests people to apply it in their lives. He recommends keeping lower blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, bad cholesterol level, abdominal circumference and resting heart rate, all below 80. His formula of 80 suggests walking 80 minutes a day, brisk walking 80 minutes a week – with a speed of 80 steps per minute, practicing 80 cycles of Pranayam every day.

He further says, not to consume cereals 80 days in a year, eat less than 80 gm of caloric food or 80 ml of caloric liquid in one week. He recommends sunbathing the body for 80 days in a year. His formula restricts to expose to a noise pollution of more than 80 decibels and not to take alcohol and if take, do not take more than 80 ml a day or 240 ml a week. He also suggests giving 80 minutes every day which includes relaxation, laughter or clapping.

Dr. Aggarwal claims to revive a heart of a dead person and says he can get another life. He has given his innovation the name ‘Savitri Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Mantra’.

When a person dies of cardiac arrest, his life ends and his family and relatives start paying him last rites. The name Savitri CPR has been given because in mythology, Savitri was the one who brought back her husband Satyavan from the clutches of Yamraj by successfully doing the first CPR in the universe though she was not a medical doctor.

“Every villager must know how to save a person after cardiac arrest or heart has stopped working. Electrocution is a common problem in the villages. Heart attack deaths are now getting added to it. All villagers must be taught the Savitri CPR Mantra,” he says.

He describes this mantra as “Marne ke dus minute ke andar (jitna jaldi utna behtar), kam se kam dus minute tak (jitni der tak utna behtar), apni chhati peetne ke badle mare hue aadmi ki chhati 10×10=100 prati minute ki gati se peeto”, (‘Within ten minutes of sudden death-earlier the better- for the next ten minutes – longer the better – compress the centre of the chest of the dead person with a speed of 10×10 i.e. 100 per minute).

Dr. Aggarwal claims of 80 per cent of success rate in this mantra and says, “By following the mantra, it is possible to revive a person after death whether it is due to heart attack or electrical current. The only difference is that for electrical current deaths, one must first disconnect the electrical current and then do CPR.” Anybody can learn CPR and requires no certificates to save a person.

In this circumstance of increasing heart diseases in  the rural areas, the Central and state governments need to come out with a sustained heart awareness campaign which has to be common in rural as well as in urban areas. Unless there is urbanisation of rural population, heart disease will not occur.

On the other hand, the campaign needs to focus ruralisation of urban areas to prevent heart diseases. Rural lifestyle pattern has been heart friendly.

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The Changing Face of Rural India