World Heart Day 2021: Our heart is one of the most important organs as it provides oxygen and nutrients to our cells and also eliminates waste. Any sign of heart trouble should be taken seriously as it is tied to your longevity and survival. It is important to eat right, exercise, stay away from tobacco and alcohol, and avoid junk food to avoid heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions. More than four in five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and a third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under the age of 70, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Each year, World Heart Day is observed on September 29 to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and reduce the global burden of disease.
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Heart health has gained prominence in the age of Covid as there is a rising trend in sudden heart attacks and even people aged 40-50 are affected. A faulty lifestyle, poor diet, excessive smoking or a history of heart disease can contribute to the increase in heart disease in young people.
It is high time to adopt a healthy lifestyle to ensure that our heart does not suffer in any way. Many people think that heart disease only affects older people or those over 50, but the truth is that it can strike anytime, from childhood through to your early 20s. On World Heart Day 2021, Dr. TS Kler, President, Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Gurugram & Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, busts some common myths around heart disease.
Myth 1: Young people don’t have to worry about heart disease. Heart disease affects people over 50
Do: Heart disease these days is not only impacted by age. They also occur in young adults. From childhood and adolescence, plaque can begin to build up in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. Obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus are several factors that can cause heart disease even in young and middle-aged people.
Myth 2: I am young. I can eat junk food. I don’t need exercise because I’m completely fit.
Do: Unhealthy food and inactive lifestyle are dangerous for young adults. Young people need to know that their current lifestyle will certainly affect the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Myth 3: I have diabetes but it’s under control so it can’t affect my heart.
Do: Taking diabetes medication and controlling it well can help reduce the risk of heart disease. But having diabetes once means you’re always at increased risk for heart disease. The simple reason behind this is that the risk factors that contribute to diabetes also make a person more susceptible to developing heart disease. Some common risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking.
Myth 4: High cholesterol does not happen at a young age. I would have to be at least middle-aged to get my cholesterol checked.
Do: It is recommended to have your cholesterol checked every 5 years from the age of 20. It’s a good idea to start getting a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families may have high cholesterol, which puts them at increased risk of developing heart disease as adults.
Myth 5: There is nothing I can do to prevent myself from getting heart disease because it runs in my family and we have a long family history of heart disease.
Do: It is true that people with a family history of heart disease are always at higher risk of developing heart problems, but by choosing a healthy lifestyle, they can significantly reduce this risk and protect themselves from heart disease for life. An active lifestyle, cholesterol control, controlled blood pressure, well controlled blood sugar, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are some of the factors that can prevent a person from heart disease even if she has a remarkable family history of cardiovascular disease.