Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a collective term that refers to a range of heart-related ailments including heart failure, angina pain, heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia and birth defects, are increasing in prevalence globally and have been termed as the number one cause of morbidity and mortality. The fact that these conditions do not discriminate based on age or gender makes it imperative to understand the risk factors and manage them on time.
“In India alone, about 2.8 million die of various heart problems and this number is expected to increase to an alarming 23 million by 2030. Today, even seemingly healthy people are succumbing to CVDs due to factors such as high stress levels and unhealthy lifestyles. In most of the cases, silent blockages leading up to disruptive functioning of the heart, are the cause of cardiac arrest. Since heart problems go undetected most of the time due to lack of apparent symptoms, the importance of preventive measures cannot be ignored. The following tips can help avert CVDs and related health complications,” says Rahul Rastogi, co-founder and CEO, Agatsa.
Lose extra weight
Extra kilos weigh heavy on the heart – literally. Indians tend to gain weight around the abdomen, which is a big risk factor for heart diseases. As per statistics even a 3 per cent to 5 per cent reduction in weight can avert risk of heart diseases by lowering blood pressure and sugar levels.
A heart healthy diet
A diet that comprises fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and omega-3 fatty acids can work wonders to keep the heart healthy. Limit processed food as it is rich in salt and sugar, both of which can be detrimental to the heart.
Move, move, move
The heart is a muscle and needs to be active. At least 30 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity every day can help the heart function better. Aerobic exercises including running, swimming or fast-paced walking can get the heart pumping, improve circulation, and keep it healthier for a longer time.
Give up some habits
Smoking and alcohol consumption can harm heart health in the long run. They increase blood pressure because of which the heart must work doubly hard to pump blood. Over time, they also make it harder for blood to carry oxygen to the body cells. Consult a specialist and quit these habits at the earliest.
Sleep like a baby
The importance of good sleep for overall health cannot be underscored. It is imperative to get at least six to eight hours of sleep, as this is the time when the body cells regenerate and repair themselves. Studies indicate that lack of quality sleep is a risk factor for increased blood pressure and therefore, heart diseases.
Check your mouth
Bad dental hygiene is a major risk factor for heart diseases. This is because the bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation of blood vessels. This increases the likelihood of heart attack and stroke. Oral and dental hygiene should thus be a priority.
Drive stress away
Stress not only causes the blood pressure to increase but also makes a person overeat unhealthy food. Try engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation or anything else that will help you feel calm and unwind. Practicing these every day can help reduce stress and keep the heart healthy.
Check vitals at home
The advancements in medical science and technology have ensured that today there are devices that can help people check their vital statistics including ECG in the comfort of their homes. There are pocket-friendly devices available today which allow for monitoring and basic check-ups at home at the touch of a button. This can help avert many fatal events and save a life by diagnosing and managing heart problems in a timely manner.
Preventive action is the bedrock of good health and well-being. Leading a healthy life right from a young age can not only help you live longer but keep you away from any chronic ailments. If you are someone with a family history of heart diseases or any of the risk factors, it is better to undergo timely health check-ups and follow a healthy lifestyle. This will not only prevent heart diseases but also keep other complications at bay.