Work a little less, live longer and Cut the risk

Ninety percent of heart attacks can be prevented by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol

The longer people worked, the higher were their chances of developing heart disease within the next 10 years, with those working 80 hours – roughly 12 hours a day seven days a week-almost doubling their chances of a heart attack, as reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

More than your genes, it is how you live a life that determines your heart health.

“90 percent heart attacks can be prevented by controlling blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, eating high fiber-low fat foods, staying active, not smoking and managing psychological stress,” says Dr. Mitesh Sharma, Director cardiac surgery, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi.

And it is never too late to start looking after your heart. Adopting four healthy behaviors- eating more fruits and vegetables daily, exercising at least 30 to 40 minutes daily or at least 5 days a week, and not smoking- can lower your chances of heart disease and death by a third.

Cutting back on smoking, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity can prevent (under 70 years) deaths from heart or lung disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes by 40 % (37 million lives can be saved) by 2025, as compared with 2010, reported the Lancet medical journal.

‘Smoking along with obesity, inactivity and bad diets perpetuates a chain of risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, each of which individually increases the risk of heart disease” says Dr.Sharma.

“Smoking makes the blood thicker and triggers clot formation, which can block arteries and cause heart attacks even in healthy people with no other risk factors” says Dr Mitesh.

The nutritional plan to keep the heart healthy is eating less of saturated fats like butter and taking more of oils like olive, mustard, groundnut oils. eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily; eating more of whole grains such as wheat and brown rice and fish and lean meats. Get active to control stress. “Develop some interest that takes your mind off your work, like music, gardening, pets, photography, yoga, aerobics and dance. Do things that give you joy is the best way to unwind, “says Dr.Mitesh Sharma.

Dr.Mitesh Sharma | Director & Senior Consultant Cardiac Surgery | Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi

 

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