New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) If you binge on junk food, smoke and don't exercise, you are at risk of developing heart diseases in your thirties. According to doctors, about 46.9 million Indians between 20 and 69 will suffer from heart diseases by 2010 and half of them will be youngsters.
"We have completely westernised our lifestyle. Fast food has become the staple diet for majority of youngsters. They take soft drinks in place of water and spend hours sitting in front of computers. Our sedentary lifestyle has made us more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases," N.K. Pandey, cardiologist and chairman of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, told IANS Saturday, the eve of World Heart Day.
According to Pandey, when it comes to heart diseases, thirties is the new forties or fifties.
"We live under so much of stress that we can get susceptible to heart diseases at a very young age. Most of the time people start smoking to beat the stress," said Pandey.
According to a survey by National commission on Macroeconomics and Health, over 3.5 million Indians, 50 percent of them from productive age groups, will die of heart diseases by 2015.
"Intake of food rich in fats and carbohydrates, smoking, stress and lack of exercise are some of the factors leading to cardiovascular diseases," said Anil Saxena, cardiologist with Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre here.
The hospital receives heart patient as young as 25 to 30 though earlier cardiac diseases were seen in people above fifties, says Saxena.
Amar Singhal, head of cardiology at Sree Balaji Action Medical Institute, said: "It is not that people are unaware about causes of cardiovascular diseases but still they are not proactive in following a healthy lifestyle. It is high time we start taking care of ourselves."
Explaining that some simple dietary and lifestyle changes could do wonders, Singhal said: "Make walking part of life. Not necessarily a morning walk but take a stroll every two hours in your office.
"Follow a diet chart and most importantly stick to it. Fix a time for having meals and your diet should be assortment of all vitamins, proteins and necessary minerals," he said.
T.S. Kler, executive director, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, has a mantra for a healthy heart -- pack lunch for office and don't eat outside; stroll after every meal; take the stairs, not the lift.