Degenerative Ailments: From Heart Trouble to Early Aging

One morning, the lift in an office building had broken down. In Sulistio’s mind this was quite a disaster as it meant he had to take the stairs to his office on the third floor. Upon reaching the second floor, Sulistio, a lawyer in his mid-thirties, was struggling for breath and felt pain in his chest. Fortunately, after much effort, this obese young man eventually reached his desk.

Sulistio was suffering from coronary heart trouble, though this was not an acute attack. If he did not take immediate action to lose weight, such as joining an aerobic class and undertaking a weight-reduction program, his illness would certainly have become more serious.

Sulistio is not alone. Angina pectoris or chest pain as a result of coronary heart trouble affects millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, some 12 million people have been diagnosed as having coronary heart problems.

In Indonesia, despite the absence of national data on the prevalence of this illness, its impact is already visible. Cardiovascular diseases are now considered a primary cause of death in the country, registering 18.9 percent in the 1995 household health census. In the 2001 national health census, the figure climbed to 26.4 percent.

Heavy workloads cause stress, said cardiologist A. Fauzi Yahya. Stress, an unhealthy diet such as the regular consumption of fatty but low-fiber foods and infrequent exercise have the potential to cause a number of diseases, including coronary heart trouble.

Heart trouble is only one negative consequence of the above-mentioned lifestyle patterns. Stress and an unhealthy lifestyle can also affect a person’s natural stamina and health and may cause various degenerative ailments such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, cancer, stroke, hypertension and osteoporosis. Degenerative ailments are illnesses that interact with one another to impact negatively on the overall health of a person.

Degenerative ailments, also known as ‘early aging’, have been an increasing problem around the world throughout the last few decades. The risk factors associated with these ailments include an unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and smoking. These three risk factors increase if a person consumes food with a high fat or sugar content and has a job that does not require much physical activity.

A report from the World Health Organization claims that some one billion people in the world are obese and it is estimated that this number will increase to over 1.5 billion people by 2015 unless immediate action is taken to overcome this problem. Hospitals offering services related to these “urban” diseases are always full of patients. There are a number of specialized hospitals in the city, such as RS Jantung Harapan Kita (Harapan Kita Cardiac Hospital).

Hospitals that adhere to international standards constantly strive to keep up with advancements in medical technology so as they can respond to illnesses such as coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes. Such hospitals also continue to improve their service to patients by embracing modern technology, which focuses on prompt responses, efficiency and comfort for patients.

Photo by Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash

Pondok Indah Hospital in South Jakarta has been using the non-invasive imaging method to detect cardiovascular diseases (CVD), using Multi detector Computed Tomography (MDCT) from one of the world’s leading manufacturers. The MDCT method does not only assist cardiologists and radiographers to detect and diagnose CVDs, but also provides greater comfort to patents because the normal scan time of 20 seconds is reduced to less than five seconds.

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