Tips and tests for a healthy heart along with myths surrounding heart disease

Tips-and-tests-for-a-healthy-heart-along-with-myths-surrounding-heart-disease

The number of heart related cases within the country has more than doubled from 1990 to 2016. 

Death as a result of cardiovascular disease has increased by 34 percent in the country in the past 26 years alone.

On average, heart disease in India affects people 8 to 10 years earlier than other parts of the world, specifically heart attacks.

Heart disease in India accounts for nearly 60% of the global impact of cardiac health even though India accounts for less than 20 percent of the global population.

So we understand that heart related cases and deaths are on the rise, therefore what can we do to be more aware and help prevent and detect the heart ailment earlier.

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY

  • Get Active— Sit less, move more, break sedentary lifestyle. Walk instead of riding a bike to your nearby grocery store, Take stairs instead of Lift, American heart association recommends atleast 150 min. of moderate exercise or 75 min. of high intensity exercise in a week . Select an activity which you love and stick to it.
  • Avoid unhealthy fats and enjoy healthy fats— All fats are not bad, there are good fats which contain PUFA and mono unsaturated fats found in nuts, fruits, olive oil, mustard oil, sunflower oil, fish and chia seeds. These fats help to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and keep your arteries of the heart clear.
  • Break your sedentary lifestyle— Even if you exercise for an hour a day, the studies have found that if you remain sedentary or a potato couch or binge watch television or on your laptop lying down for rest of the day, it can still increase your risk of heart disease. It is advisable to take a break of 5 min. every 1 hour you are sitting, move about and stretch. Try to remain active for most of the day.
  • Stop smoking — Smoking is one of the major risk factors not only for heart diseases but it also is responsible for other diseases like COPD, lung cancer, Peripheral arterial disease, Hypertension, Stroke which greatly reduces your quality of life. Stop smoking and try to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • Shed excess weight— Obesity has become an epidemic, Excess weight can increase bad cholesterol and triglycerides cause narrowing of the arteries, increase BP and this can stress your heart. Obesity can also increase risk of developing diabetes which in itself increases risk of heart disease manifold. Therefore if you are overweight then shed the excess kilos by eating healthy and exercising.
  • Eat Healthy— you become what you eat, it cannot be emphasised enough how important it is to eat healthy foods for your heart. Include in your diet fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts like walnuts, almonds.
  • Regular Checkup— It is very important that you seek professional advice from a doctor whenever you face symptoms like breathlessness, increasing fatigue, swelling over legs, chest discomfort, fast heart beat, difficulty lying flat. Those who have risk factors like high BP, family history of heart disease, diabetes , obesity and are smokers, they should get a regular checkup of their heart consisting of certain blood tests and procedures like ECG, Stress Echocardiography, CT angiography, Holter tests as deemed essential by a cardiologist.

MYTHS SURROUNDING HEART DISEASE

MYTH 1: If you are a heart disease patient, you cannot exercise.

Physical activity is advisable for heart patients too; you can ask your doctor for the type of exercise and duration permissible.

MYTH 2: If you are taking cholesterol lowering medication, you can eat all fatty foods

Statins act by reducing cholesterol primarily made by the liver, however if you continue eating saturated fats in larger quantities, the drugs may not remain effective.

MYTH 3: Older people normally tend to have high BP

BP can rise with age, however this should not be normalised and an advice by a doctor must be sought if your BP remains above 140/90 mmhg persistently.

MYTH 4: Eating vitamins and supplements can protect me from heart disease

Even if you take vitamin capsules and best quality supplements, but are a smoker, with high BP, have strong family history of heart diseases or are obese and eat unhealthy, you will have increase chances of a heart attack, because there is no strong evidence to support that antioxidants and vitamins prevent heart attack unless you correct the risk factors.

MYTH 5: If i have smoked for years, then it’s of no benefit to my heart quitting now

Wrong– The benefits of smoking will start the moment you quit it, after one year of quitting your risk of heart attacks falls down by 50% and after 10 years it is the same as a non-smoker.

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