HEART OF THE MATTER
A guide to living the ten commandments of the 21st century on World Heart Day 2018
On World Heart Day 2018, the 10 commandments for your physical and mental well-being
TThen God spoke. Through thunder and lightning, trumpet and smoke, he gave two tablets of stone, inscribed by his own finger: the Ten Commandments.
In an age when thunder and lightning in our cells and tissues overwhelm us, doctors are the new gods. And right now they are dishing out the new ten commandments for optimising your health. The oldest umbrella organisation of cardiologists in India, the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), is asking us to embrace 10 everyday tips to live better. With ‘My heart, Your heart’ as the theme for this year’s World Heart Day on September 29, cardiologists have put together a slim document, ‘Ten Commandments for Creating Heart-Healthy Homes’ (see graphic), in 11 languages, and sent it out to schools and movie halls. “It is our gift to the nation, not just to keep the heart-health conversation on but also to take it a step further—a call for action,” says Dr Soumitra Kumar, general secretary of CSI. “Keep the ten commandments in mind, follow it yourself and teach your children,” he says.
According to the World Health Organization, of the 54.7 million deaths across the world per year, 36 million are due to noncommunicable diseases or NCDs like heart attacks, stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, hypertension and diabetes. A large proportion of these are due to the risks related to urban built environment: from physical inactivity and obesity, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases from transport-generated air pollution, ischaemic heart disease and cancers from household biomass energy use (coal, dung, wood, low-cost fuel), asthma from indoor air pollution and smoking, heat-related strokes and illnesses. Outdoor air pollution alone is responsible for 3.7 million deaths annually, mainly due to NCDs, while physical inactivity
is responsible for 3.2 million deaths.
Urbanisation is one of the leading global trends of the 21st century. While cities can bring in opportunities, they also have a significant impact on health. By 2050, over 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. According to census reports, India is shifting toward city life—from 11 per cent in 1901 to 25.7 per cent in 1991 and 32 per cent now; it is slated to rise to 41 per cent by 2050. And NCDs have turned into the top 10 killers in the country. A just-released study by the researchers of the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative (published in Lancet, September 2018), shows that the leading risk factors are: dietary (56·4 per cent), high systolic blood pressure (54·6 per cent), air pollution (31·1 per cent), high total cholesterol (29·4 per cent), tobacco use (18·9 per cent), high fasting plasma glucose (16·7 per cent) and high body-mass index (14·7 per cent).
So how bad is urban living and how can you protect yourself? Cut out the 10 everyday tips from CSI and hang it on your wall, to begin with. And read on to see what experts suggest about managing the health hazards of urban living.
Do you vape? Your heart attack risk doubles if you do it daily. If you are also having cigarette sticks, then it’s five-fold (American Journal of PreventiveMedicine, Aug 2018)