Coronary caution

Sep 29, 2011, 09:14 IST | Dr Girish Gadkari

Today, on World Heart Day, a look at factors that make you susceptible to heart disease. If you hit a century, that is no reason to smile

Today, on World Heart Day, a look at  factors that make you susceptible to  heart disease. If you hit a century, that is no reason to smile

Practically everybody knows someone, a friend, relative, co-worker or neighbour who has battled coronary heart disease or had a heart attack. The common reaction to this is usually,  "No wonder he got a heart attack, he was very fat. One can also hear people say, he had diabetes or had hypertension or was a chain smoker". The finger is always pointing towards high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, smoking, high levels of cholesterol and a hectic lifestyle as the main causes of a heart attack.

From the heart: Actor Saif Ali Khan tries his hand at playing the
Guembri, a musical instrument in Morocco. Saif quit smoking after he
suffered a mild heart attack in 2007

However, other than these known risk factors, there are others.  Look at the chart on the extreme right of this page where risk factors are graded as per their severity.

Dr Girish Gadkari is a Mumbai-based obesity and cardiac lifestyle care consultant

Who should be careful about coronary risk factors and therefore make an extra effort to take  precautions?
1.  If the parents (either) have suffered heart disease, irrespective of age.
2.  If either your brother or sister has suffered from heart disease, irrespective of age.
3.  If you score 100 or above in the chart on the right.
4.  If you have gained weight during childhood.
5.  If the abdominal girth (at the navel) is above 100 centimeters in males and above 90 centimeters in females. Girth is measured in a standing position minus the clothes. Measuring tape should be held in a strictly horizontal direction over the umbilicus.
6.  If you have systolic blood pressure more than 140 mm hg and diastolic blood pressure more than 100 mm hg.
7.  If your Fasting Blood Sugar is persistently high (over 140 mgm) and post lunch (2 hours after lunch) is more than 160 mgm.
8.  If your cholesterol and triglycerides are more than 210 mgm and 150 mgm respectively, with HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol) lower than the standard minimum level (45 mgm per cent) and LDL (bad cholesterol) more than 150 mgm  per cent.
5, 6, 7, and 8 together are called Syndrome X or Metabolic syndrome.

Risk Factors For Coronary Heart Disease
Hypertension 20                                             
Diabetes Mellitus 20
Obesity 20                                             
Abnormal Lipid Profile/
High CHD Ratio 20
Smoking 20
Alcohol 20
Chewing Tobacco 20
Lack of Exercise 10
Physical exertion in executing official/business duties 15
Physical exertion in executing routine household work 15
Mental Strain at Home 10
Mental Strain at Social level 5
Mental Set-Up - Self-Esteem (Self Centered/Egoistic) 5
Mental Set-Up - Isolation (Non-Communicative) 10
Mental Set-Up - Hostility (Type 'H' Personality) 10
Mental Set-Up - Hatred 10
Married Life - Frustration 10
Relation with Spouse - Strained 10
Relation with Spouse - Formal 5
Menopause 15
Greed for Money/Career 15

There are several inherited risk factors
Obesity (Inherited risk factor) 10
Diabetes (Inherited risk factor) 10
Coronary Heart Disease (Inherited risk factor) 10
(Inherited risk factor) 10

Add up points indicated against the risk factors. The more points you have, the higher the risk.
Low Risk: A total of less than 75 points indicates low risk.
Moderate Risk: Between 75 and 100 points
High Risk: Over 100 points.
I must emphasise that readers should not get complacent after adding up the points. The chart needs to be read in context. This does not mean that patients in moderate risk or high risk categories are bound to get a heart attack or patients in the low risk category will never get a heart attack. It only means that chances of getting an angina or heart attack are high in moderate risk and high risk categories as compared to those in the low risk category.

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