2 deaths per minute – The dark world of Heart Diseases.

2 deaths per minute – The dark world of Heart Diseases.

The WHO statistics shows that India has 200 million affected, out of which nearly 1 million die every year, that’s an amazing 3,000 per day or 2 deaths per minute… The most dangerous killer of modern times is a professional sharp-shooter that strikes by destroying the most vital organ of the human body, the heart. An illegitimate child of modern life-style, Heart disease is by far the single largest cause of preventable deaths in India and all over the world.

With a country-wide approximate of 2 deaths per minute, it affects people throughout the entire socio-cultural spectrum. Termed by many as a disease of the wealthier class, it’s a disease that originates thru various erroneous life-style choices made by an individual. Even with WHO having hit the panic alarm nearly a decade ago, India is still awakening at the social, financial and cultural loses that we suffer due to this problem.
For an individual any form of heart disorder constitutes losses thru all segments of life. It can lead from social constrains, to increased financial expenditure, to carrying a major psychological burden and a great possibility of landing into an emotional crisis.
The irony lies in that majority of heart disorders are preventable thru simple life-style changes. Today’s social definitions of fun and happiness have increased the exposure to major risk factors for heart diseases. The ignorance or delusional belief of under-estimating the harm caused by these risk-factors to one’s own heart constitutes the primary guilt and core answer to the question “why me” for every newly diagnosed patient.

Seven of the main preventable causes of Heart disorder are:

1. Cholesterol – The Indulgence in un-healthy dietary habits over a long period of time leads to increased cholesterol in an individual’s body. The smartness of cholesterol to deposit around the heart helps in clogging blood supply and slowly stopping it from beating in a normal pattern. A great dietary exposure to fats and poor diet management form the main reason for this factor to arise.

2. Blood Pressure – In India, the common myth of high blood pressure being associated with stressful, irritable or aggressive behavior normally prevents many from getting it regularly monitored. A major problem arises due to cultural conditioning of the Indian palate to depend on high amounts of salt and spices for its satisfaction. All this coupled with low exercise, and poor weight management strategy deliver a killing punch to the heart.

3. Eating- The beauty and diversity of Indian culture is also reflected in its cuisine. Unfortunately our house-hold food is highly loaded with fats, salts, flours and sugars. The essential balance of nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins is lacking in most cases due to lack of knowledge or cultural reasons. A poor nutrient management and more taste-bud centric food consumption makes us perfect candidates for obesity and heart diseases.

4. Exercise- Of all major factors, this is probably the one which is completely missing from the life-cycles of 95% population. The time-to-time well laid educational, financial, familial and social pressures, compel the majority to lead a sedentary life-style. This turns them into sitting ducks in front of a experienced hunter like heart disease. The concept of 30 minute cardio exercise is an alien thought process for the vast majority. While absurd ideas like flaunting of big stomach belly being a sign of prosperity or sign of a good housewife is prevalent throughout the socio-cultural spectrum.

5. Substance Abuse – Smoking and Alcohol.- The percentage of population addicted to Nicotine through smoking has exploded exponentially in the last few decades. Peer pressure, instant stress relief, socio-cultural cues and easy availability have made it the number one addiction-to-battle in modern India. Like with all addictions, the addict never accepts his dependency, beliefs that one more wouldn’t harm him, and always requires more of it to get the desired effect.
On its part nicotine, increases the load on blood circulation and heart, this leads to weakening of the same and rise to a number of defects.
Alcohol is a herbal poison. In moderate quantities is beneficial for the heart. Ironically after the first sip, 90% conveniently forget the concept of moderate drinking. The repeated, over-indulgence onto alcohol slowly poisons the liver, kidney, brain and heart. An increased pressure on blood circulation to maintain the flow of nutrients to the above damaged organs, slowly decreases power of the hearts muscles.

6. Diabetes – India is not only the world capital of heart disease, but also of its sister concern Diabetes. The genetic build of our countrymen contains a gene-setup that increases the chances of this deadly syndrome in more than 30% of the population. The hereditary influence of this gene is so strong, that this slow and sweet killer can easily appears in a string of subsequent generations without fail. Diabetes increases the sugar level of the blood, which forms a deadly corrosive mixture which eventually leads to destruction of heart vessels and the heart.
Prevention against diabetes is again missed in many cases on account of all the above mentioned factors.

7. Stress – The best friend of every Indian. Since birth we are programmed to accumulate stress in multiple forms. The pressures of existence increase with every single year of age. The survival instinct to keep the mind running at peak performance levels is a generator of faulty emotional and behavioral coping mechanisms. The invisible nature of this enemy makes it the most deadly of all factors. It’s behavioral manifestations like anger, sleep problems, headaches, muscular tensions, recurrent thoughts, panic attacks or clinical depression are usually left untreated under a blanket of holistic explanations. The neglect or taboo to believe in concept of mind-body relationship, gives stress enough ground to flourish into a deadly enemy. It’s not only till stress has destroyed mind and heart functioning at various levels that one realizes the gravity of its nature.

Remember Heart diseases are preventable. A small modification in life-style can add beautiful and happy years to your life.
Never hesitate to approach a professional to help you battle and change any life destructing habit.
Healthy living is not about attaining a desired weight or exercising to achieve a poster-boy body, it’s all about having a healthy life-style with a healthy mind, body and soul.

Dr.Hemant Mittal (MBBS, PG.DPM)

The Religion of FEAR !!!

I recently was conducting a workshop on anxiety and how to battle it,as part of the programe we moved onto the segment of "testing the mind of the participants."
This is an exciting, game-like exercise where the participants are divided into teams
and healthy participation of every individual is made to count for.

In a nutshell, its a Question and Answer Session with some general and direct questions on a specific topic. Subsquenlty thru a combined effort of everyone present, the verbal data is converted into a statistical figure which deplects the prevelance of certain irrational, fear causing thoughts and behaviors among the individuals of the group. The aim is to help an individual self-analyse, broaden his horizon of psychological vision and channelise his energies onto positive thoughts and elimination of fear.

This time, I decided to touch upon the subject of religion-based donations.
The First question was asked on "how many people had visited some-kind of religious practioner within the last one week? (swami, gurus, maulanas, priests..)

A good 50%of the pariticipants answered affirmatively.

I further enquired "how many people had donated money or clothes to some religious practioner within the last one month?"

This time we hit higher grounds, with nearly 80% of the participants answering positively.

We further discussed on "how many of those who had donated were 100% confident that their donations would not be used in some illegal purpose?"

Astonishingly only 12% seemed confident on that.
A 89% of those who had donated,felt they had done a good deed that will earn them a positive note from god.

The graph of donations was amazingly colorful. In figures it ranged from one rupee to a hundred thousand. While in "to whom" section it ranged from road-side babas, to media (newspaper/t.v.) advertised tantriks, to "holy" god-men followed by their friends and family.

on deeply excavating the reasons why did they blindly donate without questioning on the authenticity or without verifying their acitivities or even without thinking about previous criminal records of these god-men?

the heart of every answer turned out to be - FEAR

A group analysis of this fear, lead us to a travel thru time. Every participant recounted how since childhood he or she had constantly, repeatedly and empathically recieved religous preachings full of stories on how god blesses only those who love his men.

Many of the hindu participants vividly recollected the various "kathas" (religous stories) that always centered on pleasing god thru the godmen.
Be it be the one that told how in an ancient pious land,a wealthy king became popper for not giving alms to a godman. Or the one that told how a wealthy couple fought evil by pleasing a priest.

Other participants narrated respective stories from their religious faiths centered around the same topic.

This also opened the eyes of the group to the deep, unconcious impact that these stories and preachings had left on their minds.
The cue of a swami-dressed beggar, or someone reciting verses from the holy books, ignited the fear of not displeasing god in any form, which pushed them to commit irrational actions. It stoped them from asking the about authenticity of the concerned.It stoped them from finding out the activities in which their money would be use. It stoped from analysing were being fooled or traped by a malicious anti-social individual. It just told them to comply by the godman's wishes so god will bless them with happiness.

Time and again this fear, and the automated behavioral response that it generates has been exploited by con-men, drug-addicts, social-criminals and terrorists to take advantage of people from all socio-cultural levels. From the poorest to the richest, from the illiterate to the geniuses they all have fallen prey to the FEAR of displeasing god.

Incidents like multi-million rupee scam by a self-proclaimed baba in gujurat, and nationwide sex-racket conducted by ichadhari baba in delhi, a south-indian celebate swami caught in compromising positions with a female devote are just extreme example of the monster that this fear feeds.
Everyday millions of rupees are donated world wide in the name of this Fear. Its probable that 90% of that money doesnt help anyone, but fuels physical and emotional anti-social acts against society.

The teachings of God universally propagate love... but also warn from not helping those who destroy the essence of Love...

Free your mind from fear, and embrace the Love for God.
Think rationally!!!

Dr.Hemant Mittal