One in every 100 newborns has heart ailment, say experts

October 13th, 2008 - 10:15 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 13 (IANS) One in every 100 newborns in India is afflicted with heart ailments, and paediatricians need to focus on congenital cardiac disorders among children during diagnosis, say leading cardiologists.Every year 175,000 children are born with heart diseases in India, of whom only 5,000 are diagnosed on time and operated upon.

“The most common of all diseases among the newly-born is hole in the heart. One child among every 100 newly-born babies has one or the other heart-related ailment,” Vikas Kohli, senior consultant, paediatric cardiology, Indraprastha Apollo hospital in Delhi, told IANS.

“We have the technology to diagnose heart disease in the foetus of the mother and can start treatment at the most initial stage. However, the awareness level among the masses is very low and very few people undergo the required tests,” said Kohli.

Congenital cardiac disorder is an important area where medical practitioners need to focus while diagnosing children. If delayed, it could lead to irreparable damage to the heart that can also prove fatal.

Even in teenagers, cases of heart problems is at an all-time high. Increased cases of obesity and hypertension among teenagers is a major cause of heart diseases, said Kohli, who was in the city for a cardiology workshop attended by cardiologists from across the country.

“The incidence of heart disease is also on the rise among working women due to increased psychological and social stress,” said J.P.S. Sawney, consultant cardiologist, Sir Ganga Ram hospital, Delhi.

“Because of the uncommon symptoms among women, the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease normally gets delayed, which makes them more prone to it than their male counterparts,” said Sawney.

Earlier women were considered safe from heart diseases, but it is not the case now, and they are equally prone to it, said Sawney. In fact, women take more time to recuperate after heart surgeries than males because of their smaller arteries and weak stature.

“Problems related to blood pressure, cholesterol level and diabetes have started surfacing at very young age; so we need to be doubly cautious. Everyone has to get his first lipid test done at the age of 20 and then after every 4-5 years; this test is necessary,” stated Sawney.

There is no problem in the awareness level of the masses, but nobody is ready to see the doctor till the situation goes out of control, he said. Changing lifestyles and lack of exercise and physical work are the main culprits behind the increased cases of heart illness.

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