Sunday, September 28, 2008


The word 'Heart' has no doubt enriched the English language though why this organ, the power pack behind the life of most of the living creatures, should have such an influence in the development of vocabulary in the past. When expressions like kind hearted, weak hearted, cruel hearted, heart-felt, hearty, losing the heart, heartless etc are used to portray the emotions and behaviors of humans, it is least realized that brain that controls every thing has more to do with such activities rather than the heart. It is some thing like calling a person a dog or a monkey while these poor animals never do any thing as "heartless" as many human beings! Similarly the term "chicken hearted" is commonly used to brand people with less courage though what chicken has to do with heart is not clear. Probably chicken is more courageous because it lives only to face certain slaughter eventually! It is paradoxical that one does not call a person with weak heart performance, a weak hearted one but the term is used to call a person with normal heart functions who is not tough to face difficult situations!

To day WORLD HEART DAY is being "celebrated", with the obvious objective of reminding people to keep their hearts healthy by adopting heart friendly living styles. Knowledgeable, not so knowledgeable and plain ignorant but VIPs will be spitting tons of platitudinous words on the subject. There are no two opinions regarding the seriousness of heart problems that confront mankind to day and it may be better to think about the poor heart at least once in a year though many may forget it the other 364 days at their own peril. The chilling statistics reflect the realities.

According to WHO sources, by 2010 India will have the unenviable record of becoming the top nation in cardiovascular diseases with 60% of the world's total cardiac patients being Indians. Of the 17.5 million deaths attributed to heart diseases 2 million occur in India, the urban dwellers more susceptible to this scourge, probably due to their unhealthy life styles. While the urban environment cannot be changed over night to make it more heart friendly, the food consumption habits and quality of foods eaten must be changed consciously to prevent cardiac ailments.

While on the subject one should not forget that to suffer from cardiac episodes, one need not appear to be 'fat' as being wrongly understood; even lean looking persons can also develop heart problems though the chances are less statistically. According to recent findings total body fat is not as critical as the location where it is concentrated and excessive fat deposited around organs and muscles can increase the risk of heart attack significantly. Thin people may have low subcutaneous fat but the level of non-subcutaneous fat deposit which is not visible can make a difference. Of course such claims need confirmation over a long period of observations of subjects with different physical features and health status.


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