Chronic diseases are the new kings of sickness in our world, and cardiovascular disease is the crown prince of chronic diseases.  It is the number one cause of death in India and across the world, with 28% of deaths in India every year due to heart disease and stroke.

The hallmark of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, in which narrowing and even blocking of blood vessels occur due to buildup of plaque.  It then manifests as heart attack and stroke, which can lead to severe disability or premature death.

The risk factors for cardiovascular disease are age, tobacco use, poor nutrition, obesity, physical inactivity, hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. A knowledgeable assessment of the risk factors can help in predicting if a person is at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Indians are not only at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, they usually get the disease at an early age, have a more severe form of the disease, and have poorer outcomes as compared to the western populations. Access to health care is also not optimal in India, and the treatment remains expensive.

Lifestyle medicine addresses the majority of the modifiable risk factors of this disease at the same time and can prevent up to 90% of cases. This is huge! Not only this, some studies have shown that aggressive lifestyle modification can cause a reversal of the disease.

I find it mind-boggling, we can tackle and destroy the biggest disease in the world by changing our habits; don’t you?