September 29th is observed as World Heart Day every year.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are one of the leading causes of mortality in India & almost 1/4th of all cases of mortality in India can be attributed to cardiovascular diseases . Although Indians are genetically at a higher risk of coronary heart disease, certain modifiable risk factors like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, smoking, poor eating habits and lack of physical activity predispose the younger population to heart disease.
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6 Habits That May Be Harming Your Heart Health
1. Sitting for too long
Did you know people who spend 10 or more hours sitting a day are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who sit for five or fewer hours every day ? Exercising or walking for at least 30 minutes a day or leisure activities like gardening can lower the risk of heart disease.
2. Ignoring the symptoms
A chest pain (angina) which originates in the center of the chest area, behind the breastbone, is typical of a heart attack. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, and pain or discomfort in the jaw, arms, and shoulder.
Symptoms of heart attack can occur suddenly or may continue for hours, days, or weeks.
3. Not going for regular health check-ups
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol level are one of the key factors that put you at risk of heart disease. So if you suffer from any of these chronic conditions, get a regular health check-up done every year.
Did you know you can even check your risk of cardiovascular disease with the help of cardiac markers? Click here to book your test.
Note: Ideally, it is better to get an annual heart checkup post 45 years of age, but if you have a family history of heart disease, getting one post 30 years is advised.
Smoking severely affects the lining of the arteries, increases the building up of fatty material in the lining and therefore narrows the artery. Carbon monoxide present in tobacco reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and adversely affects the heart health.
Studies show that young people increase their chances of heart attack by 8 times by smoking . Quitting is not easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
5. Eating processed & pre-packaged foods
Avoid taking processed and prepackaged foods since they are high in sugar and trans fat. Cut down on sugar intake, especially sugary beverages and fruit juices, have healthy fats & restrict salt intake to less than 6 gm/day to lower risk of blood pressure and heart diseases.
Healthy eating and exercise reduce cholesterol levels, thereby lowering your heart attack risk. Check how well-managed your cholesterol is with a lipid profile test. Book test now.
6. Stressing out (including others!)
Never stress over little things in life as it not only increases your cortisol levels but also has a significant impact on your heart and mind. If you are stressed, whether at work or personal life, learn to identify the cause and try to fix it. For a change, don’t give in to stress nor give stress with relaxation techniques, leisurely activities & hobbies.
Do’s & Don’ts If YOU suspect a heart attack
– Call for an emergency or immediately rush the patient to the hospital
– Before the paramedics arrive, try to keep the person calm
– Loosen any tight clothing
– Ask the person if he takes any medicines like nitroglycerin and help them take it
– Give aspirin to the patient
– Do not leave the person alone
– Do not wait to see if the symptoms go away
– Do not cover up the person
– Do not give the person anything by mouth unless heart medicine has been prescribed
Note: If the person stops breathing, give the patient CPR, only if you know how to give it.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Prabhakaran D, Jeemon P, Roy A. Cardiovascular Diseases in India: Current Epidemiology and Future Directions. Circulation. 2016 Apr 19;133(16):1605-20. Available online at https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/circulationaha.114.008729
2. World Health Organization. Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke: WHO, ILO. Joint News Release. Last updated on May, 2021. Available online at https://www.who.int/news/item/17-05-2021-long-working-hours-increasing-deaths-from-heart-disease-and-stroke-who-ilo
3. 5 reasons you could develop heart disease before 50. American Heart Association News. AHA. Last published on Sept, 2018. Available online at https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/09/13/5-reasons-you-could-develop-heart-disease-before-50