Worried about your heart? Here’s what you should be doing


Few days ago, it was World Heart Day on September 29. With the passage of time, there have been numerous technological advancements in the field of medical science. However, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases have been on the rise in recent years. We asked cardiology experts what worries them the most regarding

What worries me the most as a cardiologist today, is the high incidence of heart attacks among young Indians between the age group of 25 to 40 years. They have young families to take care of, just getting settled in their jobs and this sudden blow of heart disease turns their lives upside down.

– The reasons are stressful lifestyle, smoking, irregular eating time and wrong foods, long hours of work, late nights and lack of sleep. To add to this, they have no time for exercise, leading to bigger waistlines and obesity. Also, we have a metabolic tendency for diabetes and low HDL.

What is the need of the hour?

– We need tests and preventive cardiovascular programs to detect vulnerable plaques to prevent risks of acute heart attacks.

– Prevention is still the key with healthy lifestyle changes like exercise, meditation and yoga, low fat and low refined sugar diet, maintaining body weight and quitting smoking or chewing tobacco. Knowing your numbers and maintaining them is crucial to prevention of heart disease. Blood pressure should be 120/80, total cholesterol < 150, fasting blood sugar < 100, post meal blood sugar < 140. Yearly preventive cardiac checkup, control of risk factors like diabetes, hypertension and primary prophylaxis with aspirin, statins and antioxidants is the key.

Dr Anuj Bhasin, Interventional Cardiologist, SRV hospital

– What worries him the most about about people today, in terms of cardiovascular health, despite technological advancements is the risk of sudden heart attack in view of stress and poor lifestyle (junk food, smoking, alcohol). There’s more prevalence of disease in young patients. There’s an alarming rise as compared to previous figures, now more than 25 per cent patients are less than 40 years of age.

What is the need of the hour?

– Dr Bhasin suggests lowering stress by doing yoga and getting adequate sleep. He also suggests consuming healthy food, avoiding smoking and alcohol, doing moderate intensity exercise five days a week.

– Individuals with strong family history of heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes should get regular health check-ups like treadmill test and lipid profile.

– Do not ignore symptoms of chest pain and breathlessness when walking.

Dr Amit Sharma, Interventional Cardiologist, Holy Spirit Hospital

– While we have made immense strides in the treatment of heart diseases, the preventive aspect of heart disease is sadly neglected. Eating habits and other lifestyle factors play a major role in determining the risk factor of heart diseases. Infections, excessive stress, lack of proper exercise and diet are far more damaging to the heart.

What is the need of the hour?

– Stress and fast-paced life is taking a toll on Mumbai’s young population. We must learn to adapt to daily stress and ditch poor lifestyle habits, which are adding to the risk of heart diseases. Most cardiac patients have suffered stress. That also starts from a young age. For example, during school days, kids face peer pressure and that continues till their professional life. Apart from that kids are in a never ending race. Somebody wants to be IAS, IITian, engineer, and to achieve that they are constantly battling with stress.

Dr Vijaya Baskar, Lead of Rehabilitation, Nightingales Home Health Specialist

– In his practice, he’s observed that work stress has an extremely bad effect on health because people are being pushed to their limits. They consume numerous cups of coffee, smoking and alcohol to beat stress. But these very things are making matters worse for them.

– Today, we see people even in their late 20s who suffer cardiac attacks, most of them are males. We also had cases of a 19-year-old and a 23-yearold getting a stroke, the reason being uncontrolled blood pressure, despite having normal weight. They weren’t aware of their uncontrolled blood pressure.

What is the need of the hour?

– The need of the hour is to begin regular exercise, eat healthy and learn to relax. Relaxing is also important, which unfortunately is ignored.

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