Cardiovascular diseases may be becoming the number one killer, but doctors say 90 per cent of cases are preventable!
An online survey conducted for over three years (2010-2012)found that 70 per cent of the people in the city suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Stress, erratic lifestyles, poor eating habits and lack of exercise have been few of the contributing factors. Doctors say that the age of people suffering from heart diseases has reduced to 40 and below. The untimely death of film director Rituparno Ghosh (49) and actor Abir Goswami (38)’s remain proof. But medical experts say that 90 per cent of cases are preventable.
Most risk factors for heart disease are silent, so unless you have your BP and cholesterol checked you may never know if they are on the rise. Doctors recommend these tests beginning at age 20: blood pressure checks at least every two years; weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference measured at each regular check-up; and cholesterol tests every five years (more frequently when you turn 45 for a man, 50 for a woman, or if problems show up). Blood glucose tests for men and women should be done every three years beginning at age 45. If you already have symptoms of heart disease, like having difficulty doing activity, unusual fatigue, anxiety, indigestion or shortness of breath, talk to your GP.
Yoga for the soul
Breathing exercises and other techniques such as yoga, meditation, colour therapy, and even counting to 10 before you react, can help reduce stress. Studies show high stress levels raised risks about the same as high blood pressure and abdominal obesity. Stress causes the heart to speed up, blood pressure to go up, and people who are stressed overeat and gain weight. Keeping stress in check is important for a healthy heart.
Move around more
If trying to squeeze in an hour-long workout every day is just too much for you, do four 15-minute walks or five 10-minute walks instead. Increasing the amount of activity in your day — walking more and just getting up and moving more — can have as dramatic an effect on health as doing a 45-minute workout. Research show, walking 10,000 steps a day is equivalent to 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise, but many people find it’s much easier to accumulate small steps throughout the day than to do one full workout. A good way to start is by parking further from a shopping place and using the stairs at your home and office instead of the elevator.
Not only your lungs, but your heart also suffers the brunt of your smoking. Even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day, you are increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. You’ll be better off if you quit the habit.
Remember your pregnancy days
Certain conditions during pregnancy can predict your future risk of heart disease. In one study, it was found that women who experience preemclampsia during pregnancy have double the risk for heart disease and stroke over the next five to 15 years. Many women are diagnosed with preemclampsia, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or high blood sugar during pregnancy. Those conditions during pregnancy are risk factors for the development of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease in the future. So, once you are through with your pregnancy, make sure your doctor continues to monitor your health.
Signs of attack
The classic symptoms of heart attack that occur in men — mid-chest pain radiating out to the left arm and shoulder — may occur in women, too, but often women have more subtle symptoms than men. These include indigestion, back, neck, and even jaw pain, especially during stressful or physically strenuous situations. If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Tank up on the sun
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy heart. It is a hormone that manages calcium throughout your body, which impacts not only bones, but muscles and tissues in your body. As little as five minutes (at most 30) of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm, daily to your face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen should be enough to help your body manufacture adequate amounts of this vitamin. Levels below 12 ng/mL are too low for overall health, and levels above 50 ng/mL are too high. The ideal level is around 20 ng/mL. Vitamin D and calcium can help improve weight loss, which is another benefit to your heart.