September being the heart health awareness month, 29th September is observed as the World Heart Day. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world's biggest killer and claims more than 17.5 million lives all around the world. The World Heart Federation, on the occasion of World Heart Day, is focusing on creating a global community of Heart Heroes. People from all walks of life who are acting now to live longer, better, heart-healthy lives by making a promise by cooking and eating healthy, be more active and adapt a healthy lifestyle. High cholesterol levels can raise the chances of blood clots in one’s arteries. Furthermore, diabetes, intake of saturated fats in large quantities, family history, hypertension which tends to put unnecessary pressure on heart, obesity, and smoking can be the culprits
The day is commemorated to promote different preventative steps and changes in lifestyle to avoid cardiovascular events and diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and any other related conditions. A healthy heart is a goal, and people have to take serious measures to keep it healthy. Dr. Sanjay Bhat, Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Aster CMI Hospital
Dr. Sanjay Bhat, Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Aster CMI Hospital says, “Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm also are considered forms of heart disease. We are coming across heart disease in all age groups, right from the twenties to the older age group. There is a tendency to use e-cigarettes which is as dangerous as regular cigarettes and damages the heart as well as the lungs. Many cardiac disorders can be inherited, including arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy and high blood cholesterol. High blood pressure is linked to a variety of severe conditions, including heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease and even kidney failure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a stroke by damaging and weakening your brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture, or leak.”
Dr Bhaskar BV, senior consultant, Head of Cardio Thoracic surgery, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital adds, “Indians due to their genetic make-up are more vulnerable to heart diseases. Reports on coronary artery disease (CAD) states that in Indians from different parts of the world have shown that Asian Indians are at 3–4 times higher risk of CAD than white Americans, 6 times higher than Chinese, and 20 times higher than Japanese. Even if Indians migrate to another country, their risk of heart diseases will not reduce.
Incidence of CAD in young Indians is 12-16% which is higher than any other ethnic groups & 5-10% of heart attacks occur in Indian men & women who are younger than 40 years. Making lifestyle changes, like following a healthy diet and being physically active can help them in the long run to reduce the risk of heart-related illnesses.
Dr Gnanadev, Consultant Cardiologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bangalore states that Cardiovascular disease has now become the leading cause of mortality in India. It constitutes about 25% of the overall mortality. The number of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) has increased by seven times over last 50 years. The risk of CHD in Indians is 3to4 times higher than Americans, 6-times higher than Chinese, and 20-times higher than Japanese.
Dr Gnanadev adds, "What is more alarming is that Indians develop coronary heart disease at a relatively early age when compared to other populations. About 40 percent of the patients are below 40 years of age. This is mainly due to an increase in the prevalence of risk factors. About one-third of the Indian population uses tobacco and the number of people with diabetes and hypertension has doubled in the last couple of years. This trend is reflected in our daily practice as well where most of the patients are diabetic and have high blood pressure and a significant number of patients are young and are in their early twenties."
Here are 5 ways by which we can take care of our heart:
1: Exercise: This can help you enhance your heart health. Running, walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobics can do the trick here! Yes, you will be able to keep cardiac ailments at bay, if you do so. Exercise can lower blood pressure, increase HDL which is good cholesterol, and also decrease the level of Creative Protein –a sign of inflammation. Thus, exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
2: Opt for heart-friendly foods: Dr. Ravi Gupta, Cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai advices, “See to it that you eat foods loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can be good for your heart. Opt for berries, avocados, beans, walnuts, leafy green vegetables and fatty fish which may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. Watch your sodium intake, and avoid going overboard.”
3: Get a good night’s sleep
Not getting that peaceful sleep can raise your risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. This is so because not sleeping properly can change the way one’s body functions and impacts the blood pressure levels. Thus, sleep deprivation can lead to increased heart rate and may put that extra pressure on your heart.
4: Say goodbye to stress
Stress is a risk factor for heart disease. It changes in the way blood clots and raises your risk of a heart attack. It is essential to bid adieu to stress in a healthy way. Do meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises daily. This will help you stay calm and composed.
5: Bring your numbers down
Dr. Ravi Gupta says, “You will be shocked to know that the narrowing and blocking of blood vessels because of high blood pressure may invite heart failure. Yes, you have heard it right! Those narrowed arteries make it difficult for your blood to travel smoothly throughout your body, making your heart work harder. Thus, the heart thickens and may become larger as well. Though it is still able to pump blood, the heart becomes less efficient. So, try and reduce your blood pressure with the help of exercise and a well-balanced diet.”