Crossing the target heart rate threshold is often the cause of untimely heart attacks that have become common these days. In the run-up to World Heart Day, Khushboo Aggarwal shares a range of conditions that affect the heart and the right ways to keep it healthy.
According to research 1 in every 5 heart attack patients is younger than 40 years of age. As per a study, 50% of all heart attacks in Indian men occur before 50, 25% before 40 and 35% before 35 years of age. India has seen a 59% increase in premature mortality in terms of years of life lost because of cardiovascular diseases between 1990 & 2010. Our country is projected to see the highest cardiac deaths with every fourth death occurring due to CVD by 2030.
According to Khushboo Aggarwal, Founder, Zyla Health, “A lot has been in the news lately on sudden heart events experienced while gymming and performing on stage that has even caused loss of life. It’s important to understand the underlying science. At any time your heart has a certain capacity for physical labour. It is important to know that baseline capacity and act accordingly. Factors that impact this capacity are age, genetics, smoking history, and history of a heart condition”.
The measure to know whether your heart is working at/above/lower that capacity is called “Heart Rate”.
To understand the ideal heart rate, it is essential to know your resting heart rate - the number of times your heart beats per minute (bpm) when you’re at rest. You should ideally check it in the morning when you wake up.
60-100 bpm is the normal resting heart rate for adults. Stress, anxiety, hormones, medications, and degree of physical activity can all impact it. For example, the resting heart rate of an athlete may be as low as 40 bpm. A lower resting heart rate indicates that your heart muscle is in better shape and doesn't need to work as hard to keep a regular beat.
You should know the maximum and target heart rate as per your age to understand how much physical activity you should be doing. To calculate your maximum heart subtract your age from 220.
Ms. Aggarwal further reiterates, “Your target heart rate during physical activities should be 50-70% & 70-85% of your maximum heart rate during moderate intensity & high-intensity physical activities respectively. By this logic, a 40 year old should have the target heart rate of 90-153 bpm while a 70 year old should target a rate of 75-128 bpm. This should tell you if you’re working out too much or not enough.”
Here are a few tips by Zyla Health, India’s highest-rated personalised care management platform focused on improving health outcomes for the heart.
1. Know the signs
Listen to your body well, if you sense any signs of chest pain, jaw pain, arm pain, severe gas/ stomach pain or dizziness, pause what you are doing and seek medical care immediately.
2. Customize your exercise routine
Know your target heart rate and ensure you pause to measure your heart rate during the exercise regime, critical to keeping it under the target range.
3. If you smoke, today may be a good time to plan your deaddiction strategy
According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to get heart disease than nonsmokers. The lowest hanging fruit for smokers is to plan their quit strategy and adhere to it. Nicotine gum & home remedies such as chewing tulsi leaves at the time of smoking urge have helped patients at Zyla quit smoking.
4. Plan heart-healthy cooking
The biggest culprit in the Indian diet is that “tadka” that we are so fond of. Replace reﬁned oils in your kitchen with kachi ghani oils (mustard oil being the popular choice in India). Ensure your family uses only a few drops of oil when cooking.
5. Say goodbye to packaged goods
Chips, biscuits, rusks, and namkeens which are popular snacks in India are full of excess Sodium that affects the functioning of your heart. Replace unhealthy snacking with home roasted makhana, sunﬂower seeds, and peanuts or simply go for dry fruits.
6. Avoid sitting for long hours
Too much sitting and prolonged periods of sitting increase the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Easy hacks? Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Stand or walk while talking on the phone.
“The most commonly ignored symptom of heart issues is gastric trouble. Sudden gas and stomach pain could be a sign of an ongoing heart attack, especially in people with a history of diabetes, hypertension or heart problems. Never ignore gastric issues or try to self-treat. Seek medical care to ensure it’s in fact just a gastric problem and not related to the heart”, concludes Khushboo.