It wasn't just the monsoon sniffles that kept doctors busy on Thursday. From launching apps to keep a tab on your health to organising walkathons, and releasing studies, the World Heart Day had the white-coats fan across the city to spread awareness on cardiovascular diseases. And they didn't just reach out to people who had a history. A study released to mark the day found that three out of ten people in Chennai are at high risk of heart diseases. In short, the bulging waistlines and the raspy breathing didn't lie in the city's health chart.
It just took another international day to throw light on the disturbing climb in the number of people at risk of heart diseases. The survey by Metropolis Healthcare, after studying 2.74 lakh samples in the city, revealed that 63,229 of them had dyslipidaemia - abnormal lipid levels (fat-like substance) in the blood associated with high risk of heart disease. And it is increasingly catching the young.
While, according to Chennai Corporation data, heart attacks and other cardiac-related ailments caused 54% of all deaths in the city last year, the study paints a grim picture of the high prevalence of the risk factors that cause the heart to ail. "Although lack of exercise, smoking and consumption of non-nutritious food have traditionally been cited as reasons for the steady rise in cardiovascular disease, we are increasingly noticing that prolonged working hours is adding to the problem," said Dr Anita Suryanarayanan, vice president of Metropolis Healthcare.
Around 50% of the samples surveyed had low levels of high-density lipoprotein, the 'good cholesterol' that protects against heart disease, while 27% had high total cholesterol levels. While samples of people in the 40-50 age group showed more predisposition to heart diseases, the younger 30-40 years group isn't far behind, with the difference in risk percentage between both being around 5%.
Two cardiologists in the city launched a mobile app, 'My Cardioanalytics', which estimates a person's lifetime risk of heart diseases. "It constantly monitors and reminds the individual to exercise and have proper diet by sending regular auto messages," said Dr G Sengottuvelu, senior interventional cardiologist who conceived and developed the app along with his colleague Dr Ravikumar. Patients feed in data based on which the app gives details on the calorie intake and burnt.
To mark the world heart day, Fortis Malar Hospital organised a walkathon at Marine beach to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle. More than 200 people, including doctors and students, participated. Dr K R Balakrishnan, director - cardiac sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, said, "We should also campaign for smoke-free zones, and green spaces to promote a physically active lifestyle."