Some practical recommendations to protect your heart
The heart is beating continuously inside the chest entire life without any halt. The heart can be affected by various diseases like coronary artery disease, cardiac muscle disease, disorders of heartbeat, sudden cessation of the heart beating, high blood pressure, and its consequences. So, one should know some basic preventing measures to protect his heart. Although the preventing aspect of heart problems is very vast following are some noteworthy salient recommendations to keep our heart healthy:
- Smokers lose at least one decade of life expectancy as compared to those who never smoked. Smoking increases heart attack as well as stroke by two to four-fold. Do not smoke. Give up smoking if you are a smoker.
- Persistent high BP (more than 140/90) can have serious consequences like Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Stroke, Kidney Failure, and Death. So, high blood pressure should be treated adequately to achieve BP less than 140/90. Daily brisk walk for 45 minutes, reducing salt intake, reducing processed food, increasing fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the diet, avoiding overeating, maintaining a normal weight, avoiding mental stress, and regularly taking prescribed medicines are few essential steps to keep blood pressure in control.
- High cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, and can cause death. So, taking care of high cholesterol is one important way to protect the heart. Avoiding fatty and sugary food is a must apart from other measures like a daily brisk walk. Taking medicine regularly prescribed by the doctor to keep high cholesterol at the desired level is essential.
- Diabetics have a two to eight-fold increase risk of a heart attack in comparison to non-Diabetics and 75% of all diabetics die from cardiac problems. Similar to Diabetes, Metabolic syndrome also increases cardiac risk. Metabolic syndrome is known to exist when any three of the following parameters are present (waist circumference more than 102 cms in males and 88 cms in female, triglyceride >150mg%, HDL <40mg%, BP >135/85, Fasting blood sugar >110mg%). So, keeping high blood sugar to the optimum level and HBA1C to <than 6.5% is essential for cardiovascular health. HBA1C reflects blood sugar level for a period of three months. Avoiding a high carbohydrate diet, sugary foods, doing exercise daily, taking medicines to keep blood sugar at the desired level is very essential to prevent cardiac complications in Diabetics.
- Cardiac problems occur more commonly in an individual having persistent mental stress, chronic depression, chronic hostility and anger, social isolation, and lack of social support. These mental problems need to be properly identified and treated by appropriate personal.
- A history of heart problems in the family (like parents having a heart attack at a younger age) can increase the risk of heart problems in children. Children of these parents need evaluation by doctors to diagnose any cardiac disease.
- Regular supervised physical activities are associated with a lower risk of cardiac disease. It has been seen that the person who does a regular guideline-based physical activity live around 5 years longer than a sedentary person of the same weight and age who does little physical activities. But, it should also be remembered that sudden vigorous physical activities can be fatal occasionally and thereby should be avoided. Starting daily mild to moderate intensity activities for 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increasing to 40 to 45 minutes should be the protocol for beginners.
Self-motivation to implement all these recommendations are very crucial to make our heart healthy. As said earlier, when there is a will there is always a way. We want to stay healthy and keep our heart healthy, so let us start following these recommendations from today.
Dr. Pradeep Nayak, Senior Consultant – Cardiology, Dharamshila Narayana Supersepciality Hospital, Delhi