Why tribals have good heart

Ranchi, Feb 5 : At a time when the World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that India will become the “world capital” of coronary heart disease by 2020, a Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) student in the state capital has come out with a surprising fact.
His research, spanning over two years, has shown that the prevalence of the disease is just one per cent among tribals. He has attributed the non-prevalence of this disease to the simple lifestyle and fat free diets of the tribals, which he says would prove a boon for them and a lesson for others in the coming days.
“During my two years of research, I selected 102 tribal patients coming from various parts of the state with symptoms of coronary heart disease. But, upon testing them thoroughly, only one of them was found suffering from this disease,” said Dr Alok Praveen Ekka, a RIMS student.
Dr Ekka has just completed his research on “prevalence of ischaemic (coronary) heart disease among the tribes of Jharkhand”.
He said he took samples (patients) from various parts of the state particularly from Santhal Pargana, Khunti, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Latehar, Lohardaga, Gumla and Simdega for his study.
Ekka is the first medico to conduct a study on this subject in Jharkhand. This study he had taken up as part of his research work for his MD (General Medicine) course at RIMS.
Already India has the highest number of cardiac patients in the world — five crore in 2001 and expected to grow to 10 crore by 2010, according to reports of WHO.
In 1991, India had 1.5 crore cardiac patients. If the 1991 figure is compared with that of 2010, it shows an alarming six times growth.
The causes for the disease are smoking, drinking, sedentary lifestyle, fatty food, hyper-tension and diabetes.
Ironically, several people of the tribal community are into smoking and drinking but they have escaped the disease the disease till date.
Dr Ekka said the symptoms of the disease range from chest pain, which radiates to jaw and hands.
“It is disease disrupts supply and demand of blood to the heart. And this disbalance is caused due to faulty lifestyle,” said Dr Ekka.
The RIMS student said his study has reiterated that simple lifestyle, non-fatty food and physical exercise can beat coronary heart disease.