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Take heart from Mediterranean diet,wine

Fine wine and a sumptuous Mediterranean meal are good to keep heart attacks at bay,according to a leading cardiologist.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 9, 2011 12:37:51 am

Fine wine and a sumptuous Mediterranean meal are good to keep heart attacks at bay,according to a leading cardiologist.

“Indians have a lot to learn from the Mediterranean diet,to improve their cardiovascular health. A moderate amount of wine with meals is very good to maintain a healthy heart”,said Dr H S Rissam,Director of Cardiology at Max hospital,Saket.

Speaking at a discussion on simple strategies to avoid heart attacks on July 7,the Padma Shri awardee said a diet involving olive oil,soups,vegetables,fish,fruits and low calorie cheese had made heart attacks an extremely rare phenomenon in Mediterranenean regions.

“Studies have shown that eating one bowl of beans for five years,reduces cholesterol levels by 50 per cent,” Dr Rissam,a member of the board of governors of Medical Council of India,said.

The number of heart attacks in India were four times of those reported in the US and considerably more in numbers than other Asian countries like Japan,China and Taiwan,he said,adding that the mortality rates of heart patients in Western countries was three times more.

The medical expert said that 12 million lives are lost to heart attacks every year,and pointed out that this number was ten times that of the deaths due to accidents.

Dr Rissam also cautioned that that women were at a greater risk than men.

He said surgical procedures and treatments like angioplasty usually led to more complications in women than men.

“These are due to genetic and social reasons. When women suffer heart attacks,usually the attention given by the family is much less. They also report symptoms later,follow ups in the women are very poor,” he said.

Talking about the genetic reasons,the doctor said that the coronary arteries of women are smaller,which made them more prone to blockages.

Among other risk factors,Dr Rissam listed rising stress levels and the lack of exercise as reasons behind heart attacks becoming a growing epidemic among young people.

“Youngsters think that going to the gym makes them healthy. But,in order to maintain a healthy heart,the body needs low impact activities like brisk walking,which increases the heart rate slowly.”

He called for more awareness concerning the symptoms of heart attacks.

“People ignore symptoms like pain in the jaws,back and abdominal regions,nausea and indigestion. These maybe the indicative of a heart attacks,” he said.

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