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Insights from the world's best medical minds

Swastha Dil, Swastha Bharat: CSI’s Mission For A Healthy Heart

Hypertension responsible for 50% of stroke , 40% of heart failure and 25% of death from heart attack

Dr. Ashok Seth

Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman & Cardiologist, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi on  What makes Heart Prevention an Important Topic?
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Dr. Ashok Seth

Chairman & Cardiologist

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi


Today it is only blood pressure, tomorrow it will be a heart attack. With increasing incidence of heart disease all around us, it’s funny how we still think we are not affected. DrAshokSeth-large.jpg While 33% of the population has some form of heart disease, 66% do not know that they have high blood pressure. And from among those who know they have high blood pressure, 45% of them are not well controlled. Hypertension, a silent killer, has put a large segment of Indian population at risk of heart attacks, heart failures and strokes. “All Indians are like loaded guns. Triggering a few risk factors is all that is required for the gun to fire and cause a heart attack,” says Dr. Ashok Seth in an interview with Dr. Manish Verma “Therefore, Prevention of heart disease must become a science. It must incorporate everybody from general physicians to cardiac surgeons and everything from basic lifestyle modification to technological advances of science.” “Simple lifestyle modifications like eating less salt, having more fruits and vegetables, regular exercise and a normal body weight, can get your blood pressure down by 20 mm and decrease the incidence of heart attack by 25%.” Say no to the 6S – salt, sugar, smoking, stress, saturated fats and sedentary lifestyle to support the mission of ‘Swasth Dil, Swasth Bharath’.


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Complete Transcript

Dr. Manish Verma

I am sitting with the top most interventional cardiologist of the country who has coined the term “Swasth Dil, Swasth Bharath” at the CSI Prevent. Sir what did you thought about that, despite being the interventional cardiologist what makes prevention such an important topic today?

Dr. Ashok Seth

You see if you actually analyze certain aspects, the first is that every time we treat a patient, any treatment we are offering is prevention after that. So even when I do angioplasties, my most of the treatment relates to prevention of heart disease, secondary prevention you may call it, but on the other hand primary prevention which means preventing yourself from heart disease is becoming so important. Actually in India, we always keep feeling, while the deaths from coronary artery disease continue to rise, every person thinks that he is not going to get affected from heart disease and everyday thousands of people are dying from heart disease and if you actually analyze one of us either ourselves or our family or a close friend has already been effected by heart disease and therefore it becomes so important for us to start analyzing that actually it is going to hit us one of these days and if we do not do prevention then we are going to succumb to this disease process because all Indians are like loaded guns. When we are like loaded guns, it just requires a simple risk factor or a couple of risk factors to make us fire the gun and have a heart attack. So I think it is time that we start realizing that prevention is the only way to stop the problem affecting us. But there is another thought in my mind about all this and the reason for this meeting, the most important thing was that in India the glamour lies around angioplasties. If we actually have an angioplasty meeting, there will be 2000 delegates attending it from practically all the region and when we talk about prevention and want a prevention meeting then we hardly get 200 people. So we said let us do this properly. Prevention of heart disease has to become science. Prevention of heart disease has to range from the general physician up to the interventional cardiologist and to the cardiac surgeons. Prevention of heart disease has to be both basic lifestyle modification and has to incorporate the technological advances of science into prevention of heart disease. Actually innovations have to come into heart disease and prevention of whole heart disease has to be the motto. So we coined the term a mission of Swasth Dil and Swasth Bharath, which actually means that this is not just today, this is not just tomorrow. It is mission and a vision, which will continue on and on, on behalf of the Cardiological Society of India and Cardiac Prevent to actually decrease the incident of heart disease as a wave, almost as a tsunami . So we are going to always talk about Swasth Dil and Swasth Bharath. Whether we are doing angioplasties or whether we are doing bypass surgeries or when even a fresh patient walks into who has not even got any problem at the moment, we will say, pahle cheez hain note yourself, Swasth Dil then a Swasth Bharath.

Dr. Manish Verma

If I have to ask you to summarize what has been the key messages or themes of prevention in this conference so that the physician and the patients can understand, what are the things which are most important at this part of time which will help them live a healthier life?

Dr. Ashok Seth

Right, some of the very important part in this congress has been discussions on every aspects, like I said even from the basic lifestyle modifications including diet and exercise, right up to the most advanced medications, drugs and, devices for prevention of heart disease. It is also talked about innovations in preventive disease, simple apps which can tell us about our risk factors of heart disease, things like where we can actually modify our heart disease patterns by ourselves, but the most important factor, if I was to actually give a message for everybody on this world heart day, this is not going to be a simple message. The message is now about high blood pressure. One of the biggest surveys ever, in fact the biggest survey ever done in the world for prevalence of heart we released just day before yesterday at this meeting which was performed by the Cardiological Society of India on the 21st of September and the thrust of the message was that 33% of the population is suffering from high blood pressure. When you understand that high blood pressure is the father of all killers , even heart disease actually kills because people with high blood pressure develop heart disease. So with this being a biggest killer, the second thing which we found was not just 33% of the population have heart disease but 66% do not know that they have high blood pressure. That is even worse, because this is a silent killer amongst our population. The third aspect was that even those who knew they had high blood pressure, 45% of them were not even well controlled. So, look at the large population of people at risk of developing heart disease, of developing heart failures, of developing strokes. Hypertension causes all that, 50% chance of having a stroke, 40% chance of having heart failure, 25% chance of dying from a heart attack if you have high blood pressure. So the message is, get your blood pressure checked. Everybody should get their blood pressure checked and blood pressure check should start by the age of 18 . The second aspect is that all these aspects, even when you actually not just can measure blood pressure yourselves, but a simple lifestyle modifications like eating less salt, having more fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, achieving a normal body weight, just simple things get your blood pressure down by 20 mm and that decreases the incidence of heart attacks by 25%. So I think there is a lot we can do on a much larger scale. While we keep emphasizing that the government has got to put in more money into prevention, we also realize that we have to put in all efforts into ourselves for prevention as well.

Dr. Manish Verma

A little bit about the 6 S theme as well.

Dr. Ashok Seth

The 6 S theme is to emphasize the points which everybody knows. It is just that because our country is counteractive and most of the people are not proactive, despite the knowledge of simple facts, we do not apply it to our selves. The 6 S just relate to the simple stuff. No to 6 S, which means say no to smoking, say no to salt or less of salt, say less of stress, and all this just goes into, less of sedentary habits, all these six S go around the single fact. If we say no to 6 S we are actually talking about maintaining a healthy heart, the theme around “Swasth Dil, Swasth Bharath.”

Dr. Manish Verma

Thank you so much.



the interview

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