With a continuous rise in elderly population of 60 years and above in the last few years and concerns about their health, medical experts say they now have better healthcare facilities in the country.
New therapies such as percutaneous valve replacement, soluble stents, collateral devices for complex diseases, peripheral arterial devices, pacemakers for heart with better pharmacotherapy and cardiovascular rehabilitation programmes have given a newer lease to elderly patients, says Shahid Merchant, Senior Consultant Cardiologist of Multi-speciality Lilavati hospital.
Merchant referred to a study on “Elderly in India” undertaken by Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation, which shows that the elderly population as per Indian Census 2011 stood at 8.2 per cent.
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The statistics indicated that the elderly population in the country is expected to touch 10.7 per cent of the population by 2021 and further rise to 12.4 per cent by 2026.
“In India, elderly population is growing due to better economic standards of living. This approach to treating cardiovascular disease offers a newer lease to life to elderly Indian population,” Merchant said on the occasion of World Health Day, which was observed early this week.
According to World Heart Federation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs), account for 60 per cent of total adult deaths in India out of which CVDs account for over a quarter (26 per cent).
MG Bhat, a noted Bariatric surgeon and Surgical Gastroenterology specialist from Bangalore, said, “Elderly
patients suffering from co-morbid conditions are at a higher risk for anaesthesia and surgery. And if there are obese, the risks become higher.”
“With weight reduction they make a dramatic improvement. Their mobility improves, the co-morbid conditions become better and overall there is improvement in the quality of life. I see a small 5-10 percentage of such patients, and depending on their general status some of them are advised bariatric surgery,” Bhat said.
Research has proven strong linkage of obesity and diabetes with Cardiac health, said senior diabetologist at
‘Diabetes Relief’, Deepak Patil said. Patients suffering from obesity and diabetes (which is prevalent in elderly patients) stand at a much greater risk of contracting cardio-vascular disease, he added.
“High blood pressure and high cholesterol increase this risk even more. Timely and better management of diabetes, and some healthy lifestyle changes can keep the heart healthy. Deaths from heart disease and stroke in people with diabetes dropped 40 per cent between 2004 and 2014, according to a study on Indian population published in Diabetes Care Journal 2015,” Patil said.
“In 2016, the treatment approach is changing and showing huge successes both in clinical trials and in actual practice. The treatment consists of non-surgical Cath-lab treatment with coronary and peripheral artery interventions, newer drugs and pharmacotherapy along with robust cardiovascular rehab programs,” says Merchant.
“This option is now more acceptable to families and elderly patients due to non-surgical intervention with low
morbidity, risk and quicker recovery,” adds Merchant.
However, in today’s times, newer therapies like percutaneous valve replacement, soluble stents, collateral devices for complex disease, latest pacemakers for heart with better pharmacotherapy and cardiovascular rehab programmes are gaining popularity among the elderly who can live longer, said experts.