Emotions which are projections of our hearts are always strong in Bengalis. Our restless hearts try to catch up the aroma of Bengal in little things which may sound insignificant to others. From Bengali language to cuisine, literature to songs, anything and everything related to Bengal bring solace to our soul while away from home. We need to connect with our roots, wherever we go. What may surprise you, however, is that not only do our hearts follow similar sentiments but that there is also similarity in the case of the nature of heart ailments among Bengalis all across the globe.
Heart diseases along with chronic ailments like diabetes and hypertension show similar characteristics among Bengalis around the world, the reason being a strong genetic and ethnic link, feel cardiologists of India and neighbouring Bangladesh.
An international seminar of heart specialists
A week back, a seminar was organised in Bolpur where cardiologists of Bangladesh, West Bengal and other parts of the world formed a platform christened Bangla Interventional Therapeutics (BIT) to study the cardiac problems prevalent among Bengalis settled across different countries and find the resemblances. The three-day conference saw a gathering of around 300 heart specialists from West Bengal, Bangladesh, other states as well as other countries. The dean of Calcutta University, Dr Suranjan Das, and the dean of Viswa Bharati, Dr Sushanta Duttagupta also joined in.
A diagram of the heart
What the cardiologists say
While addressing the seminar, the cardiologists said Bengalis suffer from similar types of lifestyle problems like diabetes, coronary artery disease and heart block. “BIT has been formed to find out about Bengalis who complain of heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension. Thousands of Bengalis settled in different parts of the country suffer from heart problems. We will give them therapeutic treatments and study their problems through collecting data. We have contacted Bengali cardiologists residing in America, England, Switzerland, etc. to send data of Bengali patients to us which will let us compare with our collected data,” said Dr Rabin Chakraborty, chief interventional cardiologist at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals and BIT organising secretary.
“A recent study revealed that 25% Bengalis of Indian origin are resistant to a particular drug required for angioplasty operation for heart block patients. Cardiologists also recorded similar findings in Bangladesh. The ongoing study will open up a new window of information for treatment procedure, medicinal usage, precautions to be taken and many more things,” Chakraborty said.
“Clearly, there are some ethnic links of heart diseases among Bengalis. A study revealed that Bangladeshis have the highest number of risk factors among South Asians,” said Dr Afzalur Rahaman of Bangladesh.
“Our platform will find out epidemiological background of Bengalis all over the world. Many Bengali doctors are associated with top medical institutes in countries like the US, UK and Germany. We will request them to train Bengali doctors of our country and India for better orientation in modern treatment,” said Dr Rahaman.
“People from similar cultural backgrounds have similar genetic symptoms. As a result, Bengalis have similar types of heart diseases. For instance, Bengalis settled in the Middle East countries or US may have almost similar heart ailments owing to their genetic and cultural similarity,” said Dr Arup Das Biswas, head of cardiology of NRS Medical College Hospital. “Our Bengali counterparts throughout the world will share their expertise to enhance the healthcare for the patients in Bangladesh and India,” Dr Das Biswas said.
Dr Arup Das Biswas has also observed that electrical/conduction blockage
problem of heart is more in Bengalis than other language speakers.
Bangladeshi doctors have also found the same tendency. Arrhythmia or
abnormality in heart rhythm causes this problem. The heart or pulse rate
becomes very low and pacemaker has to be used to save a patient's life.
Dr Arup Das Biswas has also observed that electrical/conduction blockage problem of heart is more in Bengalis than other language speakers. Bangladeshi doctors have also found the same tendency. Arrhythmia or abnormality in heart rhythm causes this problem. The heart or pulse rate becomes very low and pacemaker has to be used to save a patient's life.
Bengalis living outside are more prone
Bengalis who stay outside of Bengal, in other countries or states owing to their jobs or other reasons, tend to have 10-20 per cent more chance of contracting heart ailments than people staying in Bengal. Many cardiologists like Dr Subhanon Ray, Dr Das Biswas and others believe the reason is mental stress, which has a link to heart diseases. As Bengalis are mostly driven by sentiments, it is not an easy task for them to settle in a new place, away from their roots. Stress builds up and often becomes the prime reason behind heart ailments among them.