Heart disease is number one killer of mankind across the globe, albeit with geographical and racial inconsistency. It has been noticed that race and ethnicity do play a role in heart disease prevalence and some groups of people are at increased risk for heart disease and many do not respond well to certain treatments. people of Indian ethnicity have the highest rates of heart disease in the world, despite coming from a culture that shuns smoking, encourages a vegetarian diet and lacks many of the classic risk factors for the disease. According to new research, India could account for 60 per cent of heart disease cases worldwide in coming years and this will signify a huge burden on national healthcare amenities.
MECHANISM OF DISPARITY
Racial disparity of heart disease prevalence has been noticed in Indians living elsewhere also. The rate of heart disease is 40 per cent higher in Indians than that among the rest of Britain’s population. In Trinidad, Indians have double the national average for heart disease, and in Singapore the risk for Indians is nearly four times than that of natives. In fact, scientific observation had been that certain races are more disposed to heart disease, obesity and diabetes than others. As a group, death rates of heart disease in African-Americans are 40 per cent higher than those of Caucasians. A low incidence of heart disease has been noticed among Mediterranean countries. Thus heart disease does have a racial discriminatory bias geographically.
Reasons for this Indian incongruence are uncertain, but scientists do believe that genetically our genes had probably over the years become programmed to be energy miser and thrifty so as to enhance metabolic efficiency and fat storage. Known as “thrifty gene hypothesis” this assumption attempts to explain our evolutionary development as a possible reason. Indians for a long time during the prehistoric times were subjected to extended periods of famine and starvations. These modified thrifty genes helped the body overcome the fasting times by using stored food deposited during feasting times, same as camel uses energy in his hump to cross the desert. But with modern times when food is always and easily available, thrifty genes are still operational and poor Indians are still storing fats around their waist for probable, prospective never-to-occur famine.
Another school of thought blames low foetal birth weight as possible mechanism for unusually high incidence of heart disease. The followers of this supposition believe that seeds of unhealthiness are sowed in the mother’s womb itself leading to development heart disease in adulthood.
LIVING WITH FLAWED GENES
It is difficult to cope with preordained future, but the least we could do is to look after modifiable risk factors. Abstaining from smoking and alcohol, exercising regularly, looking after our blood pressure and diabetes, visiting our cardiologist periodically, eating sensibly, avoiding excess calories and avoid becoming overweight are some of the wiles to overcome this peril.