Coronary heart diseases are prevalent in developed and non-developing countries. A detailed medical study by Rajeev Gupta, V P Gupta, and N S Ahluwalia shows that major coronary risk factors are more prevalent among the uneducated and less educated people in rural India. The data also shows that physical activity is greater in these groups due to the kind of labor and physical occupations they choose but their medical condition may be attributed to the prevalence of undernutrition, which is a reason for major coronary risk factors.
Meanwhile, one of the lesser-known cardiac condition pertains to ventricular fibrillation, which refers to a condition where a person’s heartbeat can be so rapid and irregular that the pumping of blood ceases to the brain.
So, what exactly is ventricular fibrillation?
This is explained in detail in ‘Heart: A History’ by cardiologist Dr. Sandeep Jauhar. He points out that when this happens the supply of blood to the lungs and other vital organs is also impacted. Following this, there is an onset of immediate cell death.
He points out in his book that in the US, in every hour, forty people suffer a cardiac arrest before they reach the hospital because of ventricular fibrillation and ninety percent do not even make it to the hospital alive. While mortality rates have shown a decline in the past few decades, ventricular fibrillation remains a death sentence for millions worldwide. An American dies of cardiovascular disease including a stroke and a heart failure every 33 seconds, the cardiologist has noted in his book.
It is important to keep in mind that ventricular fibrillation occurs most frequently in diseased hearts but it can, at times, occur in normal hearts too.
Quoting the Scottish physiologist MacWilliam who documented his findings in 1897 in Dr. Sandeep Jauhar’s book on the history of heart, the Scottish doctor’s observation reads thus, “The ventricles become dilated with blood as the rapid quivering movement of their walls is insufficient to expel their contents.” Dr. Sandeep Jauhar refers to this as ‘electric chaos’ and the result in such an extreme condition is that the patient dies.
Tests such as ECG, blood tests, chest X-ray, CT, and MRI are generally recommended to confirm ventricular fibrillation. In the event of a medical emergency, the most recommended treatment is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation.
READ: History of the Heart explored like never before!
Studies from Europe and the United States indicate that over the last three decades, coronary heart disease and coronary risk factors are more prevalent among uneducated people and with those at the lower rungs of the society.
A recent American Heart Association statement has elaborated on specific socioeconomic factors linked with cardiovascular disease. Education tops the list as one of the key factors that measure a person’s socioeconomic status. Other indicators include income, occupation, employment status, among others.