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A Comprehensive Look At Heart Diseases In India


India is a country known for its diversity, culture, food, and knack for living larger than life. However, there is one aspect of the country that isn’t talked about too often – the issue of heart diseases.

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 35,40,000 people in the country die due to cardiovascular diseases. What is worse is that the majority of deaths are caused to the younger population of the country. Studies also suggest that Indians suffer from the highest rates of coronary artery diseases in the world. They also show that the country’s standard CVD (cardiovascular disease) death rate is higher than the global average with the states of Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Kerela having the highest CVD rates.

This is a cause of major concern and it is important for every citizen of the country to talk about the same openly. In order to deal with the ever-increasing issue of heart diseases in the country, it is important to understand what heart diseases are, how they are caused, and what one can do to prevent them.

Let us start with the basics.

What Is A Heart Disease?

“Heart diseases” is a term used to refer to a range of different heart-related diseases an individual can suffer from. It covers a wide spectrum of diseases from trivial issues to fatal concerns. Essentially, every heart disease would ultimately turn out to be fatal if it is not given the required attention and care. It is, therefore, important to identify these diseases, cure them, and take adequate preventive measures to deal with the prevailing issue of heart diseases in the country.

What Are The Different Types Of Heart Diseases?

It is important to understand the different types of heart diseases to know the course of action to be followed and preventive measures to be taken. The most common types of heart diseases prevalent in India include:

Valvular Heart Diseases

As the name suggests, valvular heart diseases are diseases that affect one of the four valves of the heart, namely mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary valves. These diseases are caused mainly to people who are fairly older in age, typically above the age of 65.

Valvular heart diseases affect the normal functioning of the valves by making them hardened or thinner, ultimately affecting the blood flow within the body. Major symptoms of these diseases include swollen ankles, fainting, fatigue, and palpitations in the feet or ankles.

Rheumatic Heart Diseases

These are chronic heart diseases common in the country that are caused due to rheumatic fever. Rheumatic heart diseases attack the connective tissues of the patients, including valves and joints. Although these heart diseases can occur at any age, they are predominantly found in children.

Major symptoms of rheumatic heart diseases include irregular heart rate, fatigue, chest pain, weakness, rashes, and pain in specific joints.

Hypertensive Heart Diseases

Hypertensive heart diseases are some of the most commonly encountered issues across the country. They involve an abnormal increase in blood pressure, resulting in the damage of blood vessels and normal functioning of the heart.

Cerebrovascular Diseases

As the name suggests, cerebrovascular disease is a disease that involves a restricted flow of blood to the brain. These diseases are caused due to hardening of the artery walls because of excessive fat deposits, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

The most common sign of a serious heart problem here is the thickening of arteries and accumulation of fat within them. These heart diseases can be identified by a blood clot in an artery of the brain, and abnormal lipid profile, or a blood clot in the vein of the brain. Some of the common preventive measures for the cerebrovascular disease include switching to a healthy diet, regular exercising, and other relevant lifestyle changes.

Heart Diseases Due To Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Arrhythmia is the most common heart disease caused to patients in India due to abnormal rhythms of the heart. This may involve the patient’s heart either beating too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia). While some arrhythmia-based heart conditions can lead to emergencies, others are relatively harmless. However, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as you experience symptoms associated with irregular heartbeats, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and palpitations.

Diseases Caused By Heart Wall Defects

A lot of heart diseases can be caused due to a defect in the heart walls. Many congenital heart diseases can be included in this category. In the case of patients suffering from these diseases, the walls between the left and right chambers of their hearts are not formed properly. This results in the blood flowing into other heart chambers, ultimately putting more pressure on their hearts. These diseases are often associated with lower birth weight, delayed growth, breathlessness, and other related symptoms.

Coronary Heart Diseases

Also called ischemic heart diseases, coronary heart diseases are caused due to a build-up of plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries responsible for supplying blood to the patient’s heart. The build-up results in the arteries getting narrower, leading to lesser blood reaching the heart. This ends up putting more pressure on the patient’s heart, resulting in symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, or even a heart attack if the arteries get blocked.

Some of the most common risks that may lead to coronary heart diseases include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.

Inflammatory Heart Diseases

Inflammatory heart diseases are caused due to the inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart known as the pericardium. They can also be caused due to fungal or bacterial infections, radiation therapy, cancer, or inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis).

Major symptoms of these heart diseases include pain in the left side of the heart, anxiety, fatigue, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing.

What Are The Causes Of Heart Diseases In India?

Now that we have understood the different types of heart diseases patients may encounter in the country, let us have a look at the major causes of these diseases:


It is no secret that Indians love their food! A lot of our food contains oil, butter, and other ingredients that are high in carbohydrates and fats. Obesity is one of the most common causes of heart diseases in the country. Obesity leads to higher cholesterol levels in the body which may result in complications such as the arteries getting clogged. Being overweight or obese may also result in other major symptoms of heart diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

High Cholesterol

This is another risk factor caused due to unhealthy eating habits. High LDL cholesterol levels in your body may be indicators of impending heart diseases. This results in the thickening of artery walls and hypertension, affecting the circulation of blood to and from the heart.

High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels in your body may clog your arteries, leading to a range of health complications. In most cases, it is too late when the patients realise that the LDL cholesterol levels in their bodies have exceeded the normal limits and they are already on the brink of heart diseases. The only way of dealing with such issues is to get regular health check-ups done and keep the cholesterol levels under control.

Excessive Smoking

Smoking is certainly injurious to health and may lead to heart diseases. Excessive smoking increases the level of triglycerides in the blood, making it thick and sticky. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood and may result in the clogging of arteries. Smoking also causes other heart complications such as an unhealthy build-up of plaque, cholesterol, fat, and calcium.

Alcohol Consumption

A good number of heart diseases in the country are caused due to excessive alcohol consumption. While it may seem harmless at first as alcohol is often regarded as a blood thinner, excessive drinking results in irregular heartbeats, cardiomyopathy, and other heart-related issues. Over time, excessive consumption of alcohol may lead to the thickening of arteries, giving way to serious heart problems.

Family History

A family history of heart disease also plays an important role in increasing the risk factor. In most cases, patients having one or more family members with a history of heart-related issues are likely to suffer from heart diseases at a more severe stage. Also, this makes the concerned individual more vulnerable to heart diseases.


It is generally observed that people above the age of 65 are more prone to heart-related diseases. This is because over time, the build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits within the arteries increases, making them more vulnerable. This is the reason why the hearts of elderly people are said to have been tired by making extra efforts to pump their blood.

The Final Word

Heart diseases are very common in India and it is high time we start taking the issue seriously. Right from taking preventive measures to being well-versed with the symptoms, it is important to get educated about heart diseases and promote healthy living in the country.

If you need more information about heart-related diseases or want to get yourself (or your loved ones) diagnosed, let it be known that Artemis Cardiac Care for your heart! Visit our website to have a glimpse of our services and start your journey towards a healthier heart.

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