World Heart Day is celebrated on 29th September 2016. It is the World’s Heart Federation’s biggest platform for raising awareness about Cardiovascular disease (CVD). The success of World Heart Day depends on the pro-activity of organizations from around the world to help spread awareness of CVD, the world’s number one killer. The theme for 2016 is creating heart-healthy environments. This means we create healthy places to live, work and play, our environment should not increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
It has been noted that at least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) could be avoided if four main risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – are controlled. In recent times there is a greater risk of heart failure due to the increase in conditions like hypertension and diabetes.
Heart Disease and India
Statistics suggest that the occurrence of heart disease among the youth has increased at a rate of 24.8 per cent in the past decade. Sadly, nearly 1/6th of all Indian patients of cardiovascular diseases are under 40 years of age and nearly 1/4th of all heart attacks in India occur at less than 40 years of age. If you are conscious about your heart health, start early.
Smoking is one of the worst habits for our heart health. It damages the inner lining of the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle and increases the risk of clot formation which leads to heart attacks. Also, a very prevalent risk factor among Indians is the combination of high triglyceride counts and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
A decent work-life balance with low stress levels is important for a healthy heart. Negative emotions, stress and tension pump up the secretion of epinephrine in the body and can precipitate vulnerable plaques and massive heart attacks.
As Indians we also lack behind in fitness routines. A healthy diet with an exercise routine is a must to avoid or delay heart diseases. Have your measured your waist lately? It is said anything greater than 80 cm (32 inches) for women and 94 cm (37 inches) for men means increased risk.
People of every age and gender irrespective of family history of heart diseases are getting cardiovascular diseases. It cannot always be avoided but can at least be pushed to a lot later in life. The best way to do so is by adopting a healthy lifestyle starting today.
Here are a tips to maintain a healthy heart:
- Eat Right – Let us adapt a healthy diet low in saturated fat, transfats, cholesterol, sodium, sugars and added sweeteners. Eat more fruits and vegetables, fibre rich wholegrain, nuts, legumes, seeds and low-fat dairy products. Adapting healthier cooking methods can also make a huge difference as well.
- Maintain an active lifestyle – Get into the habit of daily yoga, aerobics or brisk walks. Regularity in your fitness routine is as important as starting the activity.
- No smoking – Smoking is a complete no, avoid passive smoke also as much as possible. Exposure to second-hand smoke also poses a serious health hazard.
- Family history – It is essential to keep a track on family history of heart diseases as it increases your risk of getting one. You control or delay your risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking and eating right.
- Stress..the biggest killer – Long-term stress causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage the artery walls. Learn some stress management techniques like meditation and deep breathing to relax yourself.
- Blood sugar tests- In addition to blood pressure checks and other heart-health screenings, you should test your blood glucose regularly.
- Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke – Heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men. Knowing when you’re having a heart attack or stroke means that you’re more likely to seek and get immediate help.
Age wise precautions:
- Crossed 20 years , start check-up routines. Surprising as it may sound, youths also need to be checked for heart disease. With our current lifestyle and food habits, our heart is at its vulnerable most.
- Crossed 30 years, maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle for your entire family. You must create and sustain heart-healthy habits in your parents, spouse and kids.
- Crossed 40 years, control your weight. Maintain a healthy weight with a good diet and a daily exercise routine.
- Crossed 50 years, healthy diet is a must. It’s easy to slip into some unhealthy eating habits as you age. Refresh your eating habits by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain, nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Crossed 60 years, have an ankle-brachial index test. As soon as you turn 60, you must get an ankle-brachial index test done every year. The test will assess the pulse in your feet to help diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD), a lesser-known cardiovascular disease in which plaque builds up in the leg arteries.
Live better, Live longer. Our heart health is in our own hands, the earlier we realise this the better it is. Do visit the Centre for Cardiac sciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital for all your heart concerns. Our Cardiac sciences department has been ranked no. 1 in western India at the All India Multispecialty Hospitals Survey 2016. We have performed more than 1,500 coronary angioplasties and 2,500 cardiac surgeries till date. The Cardio sciences department provides an all-inclusive programme for the management of all heart diseases.