Understanding heart diseases

Thursday, October 4, 2018
understanding heart diseases

In India, people start their day at 7 or 8 am in the morning, and by the time they get back home, it’s 7, 8 in the evening, so most of the people live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, spending most of the days staring at a laptop or at a computer, and there is very little time for physical exercise. That’s why health concerns are growing. A lot of people in their early 30’s, late 30’s, early 40’s are beginning to get these problems because of the sedentary lifestyle. 

India leads the world in rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Though Indians have started taking baby steps towards living a healthy lifestyle, there is still a lot that needs to be done on the health front. At the outset, we need to understand the importance of a healthy heart in our lives. The heart is the pump at the center of the body’s circulation system. This system ensures that fresh blood, containing oxygen and nutrients, is delivered throughout the whole body, and carbon dioxide and waste products are taken away. 

To live a healthy life, we need a healthy heart. There are few things that can put your heart at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease-
•    Age - For men, the risk of heart disease goes up after age 55; for women, the risk rises sharply after menopause. 
•    Being inactive
•    Family history of coronary heart disease
•    Genetics
•    High blood pressure
•    High levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol or low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol
•    Obesity
•    Smoking
•    Stress

Heart disease symptoms differ from person to person. Those who experience chest pain or shortness of breath have a chance to receive life-saving treatment in a hospital. For others, sudden cardiac arrest and death are the first symptoms of heart disease they experience. Many people with heart disease notice symptoms during physical exertion or exercise. The heart needs more oxygen and nutrients during physical exertion, so people with heart disease may notice symptoms when they are active. Symptoms of heart disease may include-

•    Jaw pain
•    Chest pain
•    Back pain (typically left-sided)
•    Shortness of breath

Family history, genetics, and age are a few factors we can’t do anything about but we certainly can do right things from the right age to avoid the worst to come. As mentioned earlier, we live a very sedentary lifestyle where we don’t have any space for self-care. We sit in front of our computer and welcome as much stress as we can in our lives. With stress at its peak and with sun settling down in the west, we crave for snacks and end up eating things that are deep fried and unhealthy.  

Eating heart-healthy foods can reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart-healthy foods include fruits, and vegetables. Cholesterol-lowering foods such as beans, soy, chickpeas, garlic, avocados, and olive oil are beneficial. Boost levels of HDL "good" cholesterol by eating nuts. With the right kind of food for a healthy body and heart, one needs to do right kind of exercise viz weight training and cardio. Only eating the right kind of food can’t help you to get rid of bad fat, cholesterol, and stress.

With the increasing risk of cardiovascular disease and stress diseases, we need to focus more on our body. It doesn’t need much from a person to live with a healthy heart- just a disciplined food and lifestyle with a pinch of exercise and you stay healthy forever.

(The writer is Managing director, Anytime Fitness)

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