Cardiovascular disease, Warning signs and Risk Factors

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of chronic disease morbidity and mortality all over the world.  Around 17.7 million people worldwide succumb to cardiovascular diseases every year.*

Cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of premature death, includes heart attacks, strokes, and other circulatory related diseases. Particularly shocking is the increased rate in heart attacks among young people. According to many studies all over the world, people aged 50 and younger have almost twice the risk of premature death after a heart attack. This is mainly due to the fact that our society is one that is becoming increasingly sedentary, more young people are exercising less, eating more, taking more stress in view of busy life styles and competition at the work places, smoking, drinking alcohol at higher rates than other age groups and not taking care of themselves as they should, resulting in the increased risk for heart attack. (more…)


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How to keep your Heart Healthy

It isn’t enough to just be aware of the risk factors for heart disease that you might possess. An active effort needs to be made in order to ensure that our hearts health is always a priority. Some ways in which we can maintain our heart health are:

  • Stop smoking: Tobacco smoking directly increases your blood pressure, thereby putting you at a greater risk for heart diseases and stroke. If you are a smoker already, speak to your doctor in ways in which you can completely kick the habit.


  • Manage your cholesterol: Make sure that your HDL (good cholesterol) levels are healthy, while your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels are kept low. LDL causes fat buildup in the body and can lead to the blocking of arteries, thereby resulting in a heart attack. If you see an increase in your LDL levels, take the necessary steps to bring the value down.



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Heart age and risk factors

World Heart Day is commemorated every year, on the 29th of September in order to spread awareness about the risk factors for heart diseases and stroke, as well as to provide information on the ways in which a person can have a healthy heart.

However, the heart can become vulnerable to habitual risk factors like smoking, eating an unhealthy diet or putting it under stress. The system can also be weakened from a pre-existing heart condition. When your heart’s functions become compromised, this is known as cardiovascular disease, a broad term that covers any disorder to the system that has the heart at its center.

The WHO defines a risk factor as an attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury. It should be noted, however, that just because a person has a risk factor for heart disease, it does not mean that they will necessarily develop that disease. It does, however, mean that the person’s likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases increases. The risk factors for heart disease can be divided into two types – modifiable and non-modifiable.

  • Modifiable risk factors: Those that can be eliminated through medical intervention or lifestyle changes
    • Obesity
    • Unhealthy diet
    • Lack of physical activity
    • High BP
    • Diabetes
    • Tobacco use
    • Unhealthy diet
    • Cholesterol
  • Non-modifiable risk factors: Those that cannot be eliminated, but rather have to be worked around through a healthy lifestyle
    • A family  history of heart disease
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Ethnicity
    • Socioeconomic status                                                                   

                                                              YOUR HEART AGE

While your chronological age is the number of years that you have lived since your birth, you heart age is a little more complex. Your heart age is one way to ascertain your risk for a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. It is calculated by using the following metrics: your age, family history with heart disease, diet, physical activity, smoking, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. A higher heart age implies that you might be at a greater risk for heart disease. The aforementioned metrics are not chosen arbitrarily, in fact, they are the leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

You can now check your own heart age with the Aster Clinic heart age calculator. Just provide the online tool with the necessary information and have your heart age calculated for you.




Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of chronic disease morbidity and mortality all over the world.  Around 17.7 million people worldwide succumb to cardiovascular diseases every year.

Get yourself & your near & dear ones a FREE Healthy Heart Check at selected Aster Clinics.

Also avail customized, discounted Healthy Heart Packages to suit your heart health needs.





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Bust Breast Myths

Reports from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that 1 per 1000(or 124/ 1 lakh) women develop breast cancer in a year.[1]

A woman’s breasts undergo various changes during the growing years. The breasts, influenced by hormonal changes occurring during the menstrual cycle, degenerate and lead to the formation of debris and fluid collection which feel like lumps. This sensation is common among women and is rather normal, as these lumps are usually benign and disappear on their own with time. Breast cancer develops when one malignant cell in the breast starts multiplying in an uncontrolled manner. Upon division, these cells cause lumps which are felt by the woman if it is on the exterior surface of the breast. If the lump is small and deep within, it is difficult to be felt with bare hands.

Breast cancer is said to be caused by a combination of factors including, stress, smoking, drinking, age, genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle etc. However, all these factors in combination need not necessarily be causative of breast cancer, even one of them can cause the condition. Women these days are aware of the condition, and even its causes. Yet they tend to disregard the importance of early detection and screening. October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in order to create awareness about the condition and early detection.



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Risk Factors and Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disorder in which the blood sugar levels are very high due to inadequate production of insulin by the pancreas (insulin deficiency) or resistance to the action of insulin (insulin resistance).

There are 2 major types of Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

In Type 1 Diabetes there is absolute insulin deficiency whereas in Type 2 diabetes there is a dual defect of insulin deficiency as well as insulin resistance as described above.

Type 1 Diabetes / Insulin Dependent Diabetes / Juvenile Diabetes is usually seen in children, adolescents, and young adults, though it is also seen in the very elderly population. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body perceives the beta cells of the pancreas (that produce insulin) as alien and mount an attack by producing antibodies against them and destroying them. This leads to an absolute insulin deficiency in the body. These patients need insulin for treatment and survival, else they can go into a coma and can even die.

Genetic factors determine which patient gets Type 1 diabetes – these genetic markers are located on chromosome 6 (HLA complex). Children of parents with Type 1 Diabetes and siblings of patients with Type 1 Diabetes are more susceptible to developing the disorder. Other risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes include certain viral infections, race/ethnicity, geographical factors (northern climates), early exposure to cow milk and other autoimmune disorders like Graves’ disease, pernicious anemia etc.

Type 2 Diabetes / Noninsulin-dependent diabetes is commonly seen in the middle-aged and elderly population though it is now commonly also seen in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder wherein the hereditary factors, as well as environmental factors, play an important role in its etiology. A strong family history is invariably seen in Type 2 Diabetes. Sedentary lifestyle along with physical inactivity, compounded by stress lead to obesity, which in turn leads to diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also commonly associated with hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

The most common presentation of diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, is that it can be asymptomatic (without any symptoms). These are incidentally detected when investigated for other unrelated problems. At times the complications of diabetes like neuropathy, retinopathy or nephropathy could itself be its presenting feature.

However, the most common symptoms of severely uncontrolled diabetes are excessive thirst, excessive hunger, excessive urination (especially during the night time), bedwetting in children, unexplained weight loss, easy fatigability, blurry vision, dizziness, delayed wound healing and fungal infections of the genitals.


Dr. Prakash Pania

Consultant Endocrinologist

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)


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