How Many People Survive Heart Attacks

It has been observed that among all non-communicable diseases, cardiac ailments remain to be the most critical ones. Over 17 Lakh Indians succumb to heart diseases every year and this is likely to increase with 2.3 crore deaths by the year 2030, a recent study finds. Although the number sounds scary, it must be understood that not everyone suffering from heart disease has a 100% mortality rate. If given early treatment, more than 90% of people can survive a heart attack - or myocardial infarction. However, the figures show that, after the diagnosis of heart disease, the mortality rate in India is much higher - 23% - than that of other major countries across the world.  Considering the risk of contracting heart disease and succumbing to it, it is crucial in this day and age that Indians everywhere begin covering their bases with critical illness insurance.

Evolution in the Treatment

There have been tremendous advances in the treatment of a heart attack. Back in the 1980s, if a patient had a heart attack, they were usually given painkillers and put to bed. Surprisingly, this was the only treatment. As a result, about a quarter of people who suffered a heart attack died during the event. After the introduction of aspirin, the mortality rates halved - bringing them down to 12%. More recently, medical advancements in the form of primary angioplasty have diminished mortality rates even further and, assuming that this treatment is administered quickly, there is now only a 2–4% chance of dying during a heart attack.

Global Trend: Decreasing Number of Deaths

Today, a decline in the number of deaths -- in absolute terms -- is attributed to the advancements in medical technologies. Doctors more efficiently diagnose and treat less deadly heart-attacks than they did in the past. How did doctors make this possible? According to a Harvard study, much of the improvement in heart-attack survival rate happened after understanding the primary cause, i.e. sudden formation of artery-blocking blood clots. This information in the 1970s-80s helped in researching new treatments that successfully dipped the mortality rate. Few of them being, enhancing the use of aspirin, clot-busting drugs, and artery-opening angioplasty during the early stages of a heart attack. According to another analysis by Stanford researchers, these medicinal advancements accounted for more than half of the reduction in heart attack deaths since 1985.

Trend in India

At a time when deaths due to heart diseases have significantly declined in the western nations (such as in the US), it perversely has risen in India. An international research by The International Congestive Heart Failure that aims to measure mortality in patients suffering from a heart attack says that the Indian nation leads in deaths due to heart failure. 23% of the Indian heart patients that were a part of the previously mentioned study did not survive, whereas only 7%of Chinese succumbed to the illness. Apart from an increase in mortality, people in India are getting heart attacks at a much younger age: 8-10 years earlier than other ethnic groups all over the world. This is due to India's large population which increases competition for survival and an intense work cycle that has led to an increase in risk factors for heart diseases, such as stress, increased incidences of diabetes and blood pressure.

Further, these conditions are exacerbated by excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of exercise and sleep. Tobacco consumption has increased the risk of a premature heart illness causing inflammation in the wall of the coronary artery, leading to clot formation.

Lifestyle correction will be a crucial variable to reduce the risk factors as well as prevent untimely heart attacks and increase survivability. This approach is simple, effective and affordable. Preventive measures become all the more critical for India, where 65% of the population still lives in villages.  Regular exercises for three to five days a week helps in better metabolism, effectively reducing clogging of blood. It even reduces blood pressure and controls diabetes and obesity. Further increasing leafy vegetables, fruits, buts and low-fat dairy products helps in reducing the chances of heart failure. For a nation that is battering with a higher incidence of cardio-vascular diseases, such behavioral changes will be indispensable. Additionally, availing a critical illness insurance is vital to avail world-class quality treatment without worrying about finances.