Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in treating heart-related conditions such as heart attack, heart failure, heart blockages, etc. They are the experts who are known to keep your heart healthy and help you lower the risk of heart disease. So to help you prevent heart disease and lead a healthy life, here are few tips that every cardiologist wants you to know. Here’s are some tips from Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai for good heart health.
1. Do not ignore symptoms of heart disease
The most common symptom is a chest pain (angina) which originates in the center of the chest area, behind the breastbone, is typical of a heart attack. Moreover, a chest pain which occurs after walking some distance which was not experienced initially can also indicate a heart attack. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, and pain or discomfort in the jaw, arms, and shoulder. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended to immediately go to a hospital or consult a doctor at the earliest.
Most people tend to ignore chest pain thinking it could be a sign of heartburn or acidity. However, it is always a safe idea to consult a doctor to rule out a heart attack. Also, getting an ECG or a blood test done before labeling the chest pain as acidity or gas is a better idea because chest pain could also be due to a heart attack. Your doctor needs to tell you that the symptom is not a heart attack after doing a complete exam.
2. Go 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. This is the reason why every person who suffers from high blood glucose level, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level should get a regular health check-up done every year. It goes without saying that the frequency to get a health check-up increases as you age and for people with a family history of heart disease.
If you suffer from hypertension, then it is important to get your blood pressure checked more often than not. It is best to invest in a blood pressure monitor to check it at home and visit your doctor’s clinic every 3 – 6 months to get it tested by your doctor. The same rule applies to people with diabetes so as to keep the blood glucose level under control. Ideally, it is better to get a heart checkup done once you cross 45 years of age, but with increasing incidence in young people (above 30 years), even young adults should get a health check-up every year without fail.
3. Do not self medicate
If you suffer from high cholesterol level or high blood pressure, it is best to follow medications as advised by your doctor. If you fail to do so or are not able to tolerate any medication, do bring it to your doctor’s notice instead of changing the medicine as per your friend’s or chemist’s advice.
Self-medication without consulting your doctor is not at all recommended as it might lead to harmful side-effects. Your doctor will weigh the pros and cons of the medication based on your overall health and condition. So think twice before you blindly take any medication without informing your doctor as it might affect you later. It is not advised to consult a chemist or self-medicate for any heart disease.
4. Maintain a good relationship with your family doctor
One of the key reasons why most patients fail to consult a doctor and search Google for information pertaining to their condition is the lack of a good relationship between their family doctor. Most people do not feel comfortable to ask their doctor about problems that affect them on a day to day basis, which according to them are silly things. Even to know why a particular medication is recommended to them, they will go online but not ask their doctor because it a silly reason to ask. This is not right. Be open to your family physician and discuss your health in detail, who will guide you in the right direction.
You can also opt for an online consult or e-consult option provided by various digital healthcare platform including 1mg.com. These platforms also provide detailed information regarding your condition, symptoms, and medications available to treat the condition. It is purely for information purpose and not for treatment. To get treated, always go to a doctor, who after a detailed evaluation will diagnose the condition and recommend medications.
5. Exercise is the key to keep your heart healthy
Most of us have a very tight schedule which makes it difficult to spend the time to exercise. Although people are turning out to be health conscious and hitting the gym to burn calories and stay fit, it becomes difficult to exercise regularly. But if you are at risk of heart disease or are planning to keep your heart healthy, ensure you lead an active lifestyle. This doesn’t include exercising day in and out but ensuring you workout daily or at least walk every day is enough. You can walk for 30 – 45 minutes for five days a week or walk 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy.
Exercising every day not only keep your heart active but also improves blood circulation to keep you healthy. It helps you to keep your cholesterol level in control, maintain blood glucose level and help you to maintain your weight. There is no age to start exercising. You can start exercising at any time to keep your heart healthy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)