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India is heading towards a health disaster as 50 to 60 million people are likely to be affected by heart ailments over the next few years unless immediate corrective steps are taken, a leading cardiologist said on Saturday.

“Nearly about 12 per cent of our population is going to be affected by heart problems in their lifetime as there is not going to be enough money in the world to treat so many people,” Naresh Trehan told reporters here today. “People eating junk food and those with a family history of heart diseases or having hypertension, blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and full of stress are more prone to heart diseases,” he said.

Trehan asked people not to ignore early warning signals such as repeated chest pain, sometimes mistaken as burning sensation or gas, as it can be the advent of a heart ailment.

“Men above 30 years of age and women over 35 years should get themselves checked up. Also people with a family history have 4 or 5 times higher chance of getting a coronary heart disease and they should get themselves checked up,” said Dr. Trehan.

Evidence shows that moderated lifestyles can go a long way in avoiding heart ailments. Prevention is better than cure. The right diet and the right amount of exercise helps us to be better prepared to face the stress and strain of a demanding work routine.

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