It is believed that before 1900s, very few people suffered from and a far lesser number of people died of a heart disease. Ever since then as man moved on from one milestone to another, with faltering trots at times and insurmountable leaps and bounds at other times heart disease has become one of the major killers throughout the world. Blame it on the age of technology which has made life ‘physically and physiologically’ easier and most definitely made people more prone to heart diseases. History has it that before the Industrial Revolution, most people made their living doing some sort of manual labor wherein walking to and fro was the major and sometimes the only means of transportation. Healthy living was quintessential to the era whence laundry was scrubbed and wrung by hand, stairs were climbed, carpets were hung and beaten off their filth and butter was hand-churned out of the yogurt.
Post the most talked about ‘steam engine’ revolution came the epoch of automation and with it life ultimately became far less strenuous as most manual labor was either replaced or assisted by machinery. Enter automobiles, washing machines, elevators, and vacuum cleaners into the commonplace of man’s every whereabouts where the invasion made by these modern conveniences made physical activity unnecessary or passive. Machines were built to homogenize milk, process cheese, churn butter, and make ice cream wherein earlier such high-fat treats had to be made by hand. Along with the change in lifestyle came a change in the staple diets and soon enough fried foods like potato chips, hamburgers, French-fries, became staples almost all over the world!
It was then the combination of a sedentary lifestyle and an essentially rich diet that seemed to have led to an increase in clogged blood vessels, heart attacks, and strokes. Heart disease became commonplace. The rate of heart disease increased so sharply between the 1940 and 1967 that the World Health Organization called it the world’s most serious epidemic. Medical science immediately went to work studying the disease and searching and researching out its causes and cures. In 1948, a thirty-year study began in Framingham, Massachusetts which was known as the Framingham Study and entailed an investigation which involved 5127 people aged 30 to 62 who showed no signs of heart disease. Every two years, the participants underwent a complete physical examination. The study lasted thirty years and provided priceless profile information for predicting the coming of the heart disease.
Today, the causes of heart disease are known and a great extent, so are the cures. The field of cardiology has grown tremendously to meet the demands of the disease. Through the years, tools and techniques for treating heart disease have also evolved to meet the increased need as well as the level of sophistication. Many of the milestones in cardiology which once seemed unreachable: the answers to myriad questions which evoked the aura of dead-end mysteries have now been overcome and a lot of essentially necessary questions answered. However, it is science which prompts us to believe in the mass theory of evolution and if the evolution of the species is indeed a reality we will also have to accept that illnesses meant to thwart the natural processes will also most definitely be on the move. As of now almost all the known questions regarding the human heart, its processes, functions, drawbacks and shortcomings are either all out in the open or on the very verge of seeing the sun. Nevertheless, what may come next to challenge the beatings of our life’s systems is an indispensable query and it is only the near next future that holds the answers to those yet unknown questions.