Globally, deaths due to heart disease account for 32% of the total deaths and more than three quarters of these deaths take place in low and middle income countries. As per global data and reports, most heart related diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
While everyone is aware of how fatal heart diseases can be, we often ignore the root causes of it and continue doing it without pause. It is when the disease has already advanced to a serious stage we start taking preventive measures which is by then too late.
"We are not immortal, nor are we immune to everything around us. The term- prevention is cure- is apt for cardiac disease," says Dr Rajpal Singh, Director-Interventional Cardiology, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bangalore.
In order to avoid the risk associated with heart diseases, Dr Singh suggests having a healthy diet, doing regular exercise, sleeping well, cutting off smoking, drugs and having periodic health check ups.
Food in moderation
"Moderation in all" is the key to a sound health, he says and recommends cutting down oil consumption in foods. He recommends half a litre of oil-rich in saturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil- per month for an adult and suggests having more greens, nuts, protein and fibre, and advises strongly against excessive eating of red meat.
40 minutes of daily exercise
Cut down smoking, drinking alcohol
As per the data given by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the majority of heart diseases are due to smoking and alcohol. On this, Dr Singh says smoking and recreational drugs increase the risk of sudden cardiac death by nearly 50% compared to non-smokers. They also increase the risk of other illnesses such as hypertension, strokes and heart failure.
While suggesting moderate drinking, which he says is good for health, he advises against binge drinking. "Alcohol in moderation is cardio protective, but alcohol in excess is harmful to the heart. Binge drinking increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death and should be totally avoided," he says.
Sleep, relax well
He also emphasizes relaxation. Sleeping, he says, can boost mental and cardiac health. One should sleep for at least 7-8 hours per day.
On another effective way for reducing the risk of heart disease, he talks about endorphins and its association with laughter and being happy. "Laughter is essential, it releases endorphins, which in turn help in reducing your blood pressure, improving your blood circulation and thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. So read, share and enjoy a joke, join a laughter club, and have more friends. Managing emotional stress via laughter is very important," says Dr Singh.
Physical examination, blood pressure, weight, full blood count, cholesterol levels, kidney, liver and thyroid function tests along with blood glucose levels, and ECG, should be done regularly says the Bangalore based doctor and suggests to consult with a trained cardiologist for the best appropriate cardiac investigation, based on the risk profile and symptoms.
—Times of India