Noting that India's air pollution is higher than the standards prescribed by WHO, a cardiac specialist today said high levels of air pollution imparts a risk for heart diseases particularly in urban centres of the country.

"It is equivalent to the risk of smoking. Serious efforts have to be taken to reduce air pollution across the country to reduce heart and lung diseases among the general population," said Dr Dorairaj Prabhakaran, executive director, Centre of Chronic Disease Control, Delhi and vice president, Public Health Foundation of India.

"Heart disease has been increasing at alarming levels in India and urbanization has played a major role in causing this dangerous trend," he said, while delivering the Uma Banerjee Oration at the Annual Conference of Cardiological Society of India, here.

Prabhakaran stressed the importance of Yoga for cardiac rehabilitation for heart patients for getting back to normal lives.

"There is an ongoing study looking at the benefits of yoga in returning patients to their normal lives after a bypass or treatment for heart attack," he is quoted as saying a release here.

According to him, treatments for high level of Blood Pressure, sugar and cholesterol are far from perfect across India.

"Not everyone can have access to a cardiologist. Treatment of high BP, sugar and cholesterol can be done by the general doctors at the primary level," he said. Government is launching a programme to train the primary doctors at district level to treat these risk factors of heart diseases, he said.

Prabhakaran also pointed that 17 million man hours will be lost due to heart diseases by 2030 if preventive measures are not taken properly.

The four day annual conference of the Cardiological Society of India ended today.

Source: December 11, 2016, The Times of India