Apollo Hospitals Group Pledges for a Healthy Heart on World Heart Day

NEW DELHI, September 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Having successfully conducted over 130,000 cardiac surgeries - among the highest by any centre globally - coupled with a success rate of 99.6%, Apollo Hospitals Group took a step forward in achieving its objective to create awareness in India about the pertinent risks posed by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Apollo Hospitals, under the Billion Hearts Beating programme initiated by the visionary Padma Vibhushan Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Executive Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, has been working tirelessly in achieving this goal and spreading the message of 'healthy heart' amongst the population of the country.

Calling for urgent action from the world community, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Executive Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group said, "I urge every citizen to wake up to this alarming situation and join hands with us to pledge for a healthy heart by following five simple steps - get active, eat healthy, quit smoking, beat stress and get regular health checks."

Apollo Hospitals has been at the forefront of fighting the menace of CVDs right since the early 80s. The Heart Institutes at Apollo Hospitals India form one of the largest groups of Cardiology and Cardio-Thoracic Surgery in the world, having completed over 130,000 heart surgeries with success rates comparable to the best in the world. Apollo Hospitals pioneered customized health checks thereby preventing and diagnosing at early stages diseases and their major risk factors.

Making its contribution to creating greater awareness as well as highlighting issues related to CVDs, Apollo Hospitals has organized several activities across its hospital network in the country. From heart check camps to CMEs, healthy heart talks in schools, free screening for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index, etc. Apollo Hospitals is collaborating with the citizens of the country to promote the cause of a healthy heart. The Group aims to educate, inspire change and create a call to action all across the country to take the first step towards heart health. These activities will culminate with the "Dil Ki Daud" in the national capital region on 7th October 2012.

"God has given us a tremendous organ in the form of the heart, which beats right from birth to the last breath. But unfortunately over the last two decades we are noticing that heart diseases are becoming rampant. We are noticing that the onset of heart diseases is both increasing as well as setting in at much younger ages," said Dr. Reddy.

CVDs are currently the leading cause of death in urban and rural India. It is also estimated that by 2020, India will have the largest cardiovascular burden globally, accounting for almost one-third deaths. Studies over the last 60 years show an alarmingly high rate of coronary heart disease and premature heart disease among Indians. It is estimated that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than Caucasians, with 25% of attacks happening to people under the age of 40 - unheard of in other populations. Indians are genetically predisposed to attract heart ailments and the present day's lifestyle is lowering the age of heart ailments.

According to WHO, while the rest of the world enters the heart attack zone at around 55 years, Indians unfortunately are getting there as early as 35. Heart disease and stroke are the world's leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million1 lives each year and the numbers are rising. By 2030, it is expected that 23 million people will die from CVDs annually. Billion Hearts Beating is a crusade against this infamy.

Attributing the rising incidence of CVDs to irregular lifestyles, Dr. Reddy added, "Fast-paced lifestyle changes and soaring stress levels are one of the foremost contributors to the alarming rise in such cases not just in India but worldwide. Since diseases such as heart ailments, strokes, are preventable, it is important to spread awareness about their risk factors, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, excess tobacco and alcohol intake, sedentary lifestyles and obesity. Preventive measures are crucial because such diseases disturb the wellbeing of families; disrupt the social fabric and lower national productivity, since many afflicted people fall within the productive age group. Public outreach and awareness campaigns are imperative in the fight against cardiovascular diseases."

CVDs are largely preventable. Both, population wide measures and improved access to individual health care interventions can result in a major reduction in the health and socioeconomic burden caused by these diseases and their risk factors. Indians are genetically predisposed to attract heart ailments and the present day's lifestyle is lowering the age of heart ailments and taking an increasing number of youth into its cruel fold.

Dr. M.R. Girinath, Chief Cardiovascular Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals Group said, "Coronary heart disease is assuming epidemic proportions in our country and we already have a prevalence of over 12% in our adult urban population. If we want to halt this epidemic we need to do what Western countries have done - focus on prevention involving the control of risk factors that promote the development of this dread disease. After treating thousands of patients over the past three decades, I am convinced that it is better to avoid getting the disease by practicing prevention, than to get the disease and have it treated by palliative forms of treatment such as percutaneous coronary interventions with stents or with Coronary artery bypass surgery. In my opinion, prevention of coronary artery disease is superior to palliative cure."

Started in April 2010 by Apollo Hospitals Group, Billion Hearts Beating is a movement to promote heart health across India by creating awareness about heart disease, its causes, symptoms, preventive measures, care and treatment. Subsequently it was established as an independent, not-for-profit foundation to help India become heart-healthy. The campaign has already reached millions of people across the country. Over 3.5 lakh people have already taken a pledge to lead a heart healthy life on www.billionheartsbeating.com. The campaign sets out to not only create awareness but also provide tailor-made solutions of cardiovascular problems to specific segments - kids, youth senior citizens, working professionals, armed forces and women. It was in the same year that Dr. Prathap Reddy was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan award by the Government of India, for his excellence and exceptional service in the Healthcare industry in the country.

1 World Health Organization estimate

About Apollo Hospitals:

In 1983, Dr Prathap C Reddy, the architect of Indian healthcare, launched the first corporate hospital in India, Apollo Hospitals Chennai. Over the years, Apollo Hospitals Group has grown to become one of Asia's largest integrated healthcare organizations with over 8,500 beds across 50 hospitals, more than 1350 pharmacies and over 100 diagnostic clinics. The Group also offers medical business process outsourcing services, health insurance services and clinical research divisions with a focus on epidemiological studies, stem cell research and genetic research. To develop talent for the burgeoning need of superior healthcare delivery, Apollo Hospitals Group has 11 nursing and hospital management colleges. These achievements have earned Apollo Hospitals Group several accolades, including the Centre of Excellence from the Government of India and recognition from the Joint Commission International (seven of our hospitals are JCI accredited). In a rare honour, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in recognition of Apollo's contribution, the first for a healthcare organization. Apollo Hospitals Chairman, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, was conferred with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, in 2010. Apollo Hospitals Group, for over 28 years, has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, world-class clinical services and cutting-edge technology. Our hospitals are consistently ranked amongst the best hospitals globally for advanced medical services and research.

For more information, please visit www.apollohospitals.com.

For further information on this press release, please contact Imprimis PR: Isha Raj, iraj@imprimispr.com, 9711348461

Primary Media Contact: Ms. Parul Chhabra, parul_c@apollohospitals.com, 91-09810855410

Secondary Media Contact: Ms. Kusum Sahijpal, kusum_s@apollohospitals.com, 91-09999973090

SOURCE Apollo Hospitals Group




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