Heart disease in 2016 India reflects Germany’s battle 15 years ago


Kolkata: What Germany battled 15 years ago in heart disease and obesity, India is grappling with those issues now, according to a noted German cardiologist, who advised India not make the same mistakes as his country and attack the problem at the core instead of treating the disease’s side-effects.

“It (the situation) is exactly the same, just 15 years later. You now have the obesity problem which we had after the war when people were trying to feed more. We still have it but it is going down,” Dietmar Schmitz from Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Contilia Cardiovascular Centre in Germany, told IANS on the sidelines of a programme organsied by the Medica Superspecialty Hospital here.

“We had higher level of ischaemic heart disease. It was resolved in the 1980s primarily with drugs. Smoking was not such a big problem in India, as it is now. Diabetes is a big problem in India now and also the possibilities that you get the treatment,” he added.

Since 2008, Schmitz has trained over 60 doctors in India in cardio re-synchronization.

“Don’t make our mistakes. We spent a long time treating side effects and not the basic thing. So they were treating hypertension and diabetes like mad and the solution was getting the patient trimmed down. We didn’t do that,” he said.

“Gradually people started questioning whether they want to live the rest of their lives on drugs,” he pointed out.

Advocating preventive action to push heart disease at a later stage in life, Schmitz noted India is putting it at an earlier phase.

“You prevent and put it at a later state. India is putting heart disease at an earlier stage. The food system is getting better but obesity is a major concern and on the cardiac side it is the biggest problem,” he added.


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