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----------WELCOME TO Ladakh Heart Foundation----------WELCOME TO Ladakh Heart Foundation----------
About Ladakh Heart Foundation

The Ladakh Heart Foundation is a non-profit making, non political charitable trust. It was established in 1997 by Ven. T. Chogyal., a local monk. The organisation was started due to the high prevalence of cardio-vascular disease, acquired and congenital heart disease within the local community. These can be attributed to the altitude and harsh living conditions. The majority of the permanent population (120.000 ladakhi's, 8.000 Tibetans) live at altitudes of 3500 - 5000 mts. In the winter temperatures can reach as low as -36ºC and the atmosphere is that of a dry desert. Congenital heart disease, which can be described as a structural fault of the heart, present at birth, is 3 times more prevalent than in lands of low altitude. The initial phase of Rheumatic disease is a sore throat, which is transmitted by cross-infection. Cross infection is high and rural village, where in the severe winters, whole families are confined to one room.

Change in lifestyle has also added to the health problems of people in Ladakh, such as the change to a western diet and a higher fat in take. The local obsession with the traditional butter tea has not helped health problems either. These factors have led to an increase in the cases of coronary heart disease and diabetes in Ladakh (of which there is a high number of suffers).

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The nearest referral hospitals for heart patients are AIIMS, New Delhi (1300 kms); PGI Chandigarh (800 kms); S.M.H.S. hospital or Skims Sora, in Srinagar (over 436 km). The roads to Leh are shut off for 7 months, during the winter. Not only is travel between Ladakh and these places difficult but expensive (especially, as air travel is sometimes the only option). Air travel, accommodation charges for patients and care, with the possibility of waiting any months for a surgical procedure, is very expensive. Most people in the local community have low incomes and can not afford these costs. Thus, it has been established that there is a need to improve local facilities. It has also been concluded that some of the above conditions can be prevented by i. e. change in lifestyle and attitudes.

The Problem:

The lack of medical facilities in this district is a serious problem. The population does not have access to either health education or the staff and equipment needed to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disorders. As already mentioned, the majority of patients can not afford the expense involved with obtaining the treatment they require.

The lack of health education mains that the population is unaware of the effects of high risk behaviors such as smoking, obesity sedentary life, excessive alcohol and salt consumption on their health. As a result, local people are unfamiliar with the effect such behaviors may have on their health

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