Heart disease: not a matter of old age

posted on Jul 10, 2022 | Author DR. ZUBAIR RASHID

May 31, 2022. A melodious evening in the City of Joy. Seemingly healthy Krishnakumar Kunnath (KK) got fans singing at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium. He had complained of some discomfort during the performance but continued with the show.

Nobody knew then that it would be his last concert. KK succumbed to cardiac arrest. He was taken to CMRI Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 53 years old.

This loss has once again sounded the alarm over rising cases of heart or cardiovascular disease (CVD) among young Indians. The fact that the average age of developing cardiovascular disease in India is a decade younger than in Western countries and it is one of the most common causes of death among men aged 35 at 54 is also concerning.

Heart disease is not attributable to a single cause as it is multifactorial in nature.

Let’s be honest, the world is experiencing alarming rates of lifestyle-related health issues such as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, and we are currently falling victim to environmental hazards. The good news is that an occasional cheesy pizza or butter chicken won’t trigger a heart condition. The bad news is that if it becomes a habit, the ill effects will show up as deposits or plaques in your arteries. These deposits lead to narrowing of the arteries which eventually increases blood pressure and leads to cardiovascular disease.

So what is the solution ? The answer is quite simple but most of us overlook it – lead a healthy life!

Here’s how.

8 things you can do to prevent heart disease

1. Know your risk

Doctors are shocked by the growing number of young people developing heart problems in India. If you are between 40 and 75 years old and have never had a heart attack or stroke. Certain factors can increase your risk, such as smoking, kidney disease, or a family history of early heart disease. Stress is the most important and well-studied modifiable risk factor. Knowing your risk factors can help you and your healthcare team decide on the best treatment plan for you. Many risk factors can be improved with lifestyle changes.

2. Adopt a healthy diet

Remember, not eating or eating less, skipping meals and continuous fasting never helps. We get so many mixed messages about which foods are best for us. We know that some things may be dangerous to our hearts, but maybe we don’t know to what extent. Center your diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant proteins, lean animal proteins, and fish. Make smart choices like limiting refined carbs, processed meats, and sugary drinks. Use the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats and avoid trans fats. Meal planning can help.

3. Be physically active

Going for a walk every day, working out in a gym or practicing a regular sport does not mean… That’s all… The activity must be adapted according to one’s diet, work and weight. Move more – it’s one of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease and age well. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. If you are already active, you can increase your intensity for even more benefits. If you’re not active now, just start by sitting less and moving more. Sitting is the “new smoking”

4. Watch your weight

If you’re working out or exercising, you still haven’t decreased, which means your activity or diet isn’t what you were aiming for. Start rethinking, design your workout plans, change your program/diet or whatever it takes to shrink your belly. Stay at a healthy weight for you. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Start by eating fewer calories and moving more. You can check and recheck your body mass index (BMI) regularly.

5. Live tobacco/Alcohol free

The Biden administration wants to reduce nicotine levels in all cigarettes sold in the United States. It is the helplessness of addiction. If you don’t smoke, vape, or use tobacco products, never start. There is no such thing as a safe tobacco product. If quitting smoking or smoking is a challenge for you, ask your team for help kicking the habit using proven methods. Don’t just trade one source of tobacco for another. And try to avoid secondhand smoke i.e. e-cigars, NRT.

6. Manage terms

If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes, or other conditions that put you at increased risk, it’s very important to work with your healthcare team and make changes to your lifestyle. of life. Get an annual screening on your comorbid conditions.

seven. take your medicine

If you have a medical condition, your doctor may prescribe statins or other medications to help control cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Consult your doctor to assess your condition and reduce or increase the doses of the medications you are taking.

8. Be a team player

Your healthcare team can help reduce your risk of heart disease to live longer and healthier lives. Work together on your prevention plan from time to time. Ask questions and be open about the challenges you might face when trying to make healthy changes.

The bottom line?

Live well today for a healthier tomorrow.

As the caption says, “Choti si hai Zindagi, Kal mil Jaye toh hogi khushnaseebi”, let’s do everything we can to make this Choti si Zindagi healthy.

(The author is Senior Consultant Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Noora Hospital Srinagar)