Heart-Diseases

Heart diseases rank among one of the top most causes of death globally according to WHO (World Health Organization). Deaths due to heart diseases have doubled in India, its 28% now as compared to 15% in 1990s, as per a report published in Lancet Journal.

In the light of growing modern technology, not only the new and young “smartphone generation” but also everyone else is facing more devastating consequences due to their comfortable yet fast paced and stressful lifestyle. This is leading to spike in heart diseases and lifestyle disorders. And to further the situation is the fact that cardiovascular disorders are very unpredictable, they begin slowly but lead to sudden serious disturbances of heart and ill health.

We cannot change the causative factors of cardiovascular diseases like family history of heart diseases, gender or age but that does not mean we should not do our best to bring about changes in our lifestyle that can help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Proper lifestyle, diet, exercise with appropriate medical interventions can help delay the problem or even put a stop.

Here are the pointers of the governance for a better Heart and actions to be taken:

  • Stress

One word, one cause that can be the root for different health disorders is stress.

In times when technology and support was not abundant activities such as house cleaning, gardening, taking children and pets to play and walk, climbing stairs, doing household work manually were daily physical activities. These activities even though sedentary, were helping people to keep their body fit and also assist to reduce the occurrence of high blood pressure, high sugar levels, high cholesterol and thus, check the overall strain on the heart, to a certain level.

Today’s fast moving lifestyle has literally reduced all these small yet essential de-stressing physical activities. Thus resulting in increase of oxidative stress and free radicals in the body that are detrimental for the heart.

Coping with stress in unhealthy way like binge eating, eating at irregular intervals or anorexia nervosa causes further negative impact on heart health.

The key is to find alternative ways of managing and reducing stress using various relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, pranayama, 30 minutes of physical activity preferably cardio exercise done 5 days a week, aerobics or brisk walking and more. These activities offer great benefits like increasing the oxygen levels in the body, enhancing blood circulation to all parts of the body, toning of muscles and nerves and much more resulting in better inner health of the body and the heart.

  • Sleep

Getting quality sleep for appropriate amount of time is missing in this generation where most of the population is addicted to mobile phones and laptops, working in night shifts, late night binge watching, hectic work schedules. Sleep apnoea, breathing troubles are conditions which if persist for a considerable amount of time lead to disturbance in sleep-wake cycle that can further lead to increase in the risk of heart diseases.

Sleep is one of the major function during which the body goes into repair, maintenance and rest mode.

Making sleep a priority in life and sticking to a schedule is the solution. Most adults need 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily to feel fresh, stay health and to wake up energised.

  • Diet

A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables devoid the person of the micronutrients and trace elements essential for body. Consuming too much sugar, salt, high-fat food, processed foods are a threat to heart health.

Fast foods and ready-made foods are rich in trans-fats, hydrogenated and saturated fats. Food products like red meat, palm oil, crackers, chips, cookies, deep fried food, baked foods and all food types categorized as ‘junk food’ are detrimental in long run especially when consumed in excess or regularly. These can lead to accumulation of fat or sugar in the body and can lead to heart trouble. The increased exposure of chemicals and pesticides to the cultivated crops is also a major culprit for toxin build up.

  • Substance misuse – Alcohol, smoking, consumption of drugs

When it comes to these habits, occasional and moderate usage of Alcohol is fine, but smoking, substance misuse and excessive alcoholism are immensely detrimental to the cardiovascular (heart) health of your body and are direct causes of heart disease.

Chemicals in tobacco damage blood vessels, causing plaques (fat deposition inside blood vessels). It also narrows the arteries leading to atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (cardiac cell death). These symptoms have increased over the years and so has the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), even in non-smokers in last few years.

Smokeless tobacco, low nicotine cigars, low tar cigar, second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can also be dangerous and increase the risk of heart disease even if it is social smoking only with friends. Especially Women are at a greater risk if smoking while consuming contraceptive pills.

Getting regular health check-ups and medical consultation is advisable. As regular and early screening can help in detecting the diseases in time and hence can be better monitored and managed to reduce the risk to life.

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Life. Take care.

Check tests & Profiles for Heart here

Contributed by Dr. Chaitra Avinash, an expert on lifestyle disorders, dietary intervention and hair-skin care.

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Health Risks for Men

Men have shorter life expectancies than women. Men are at higher risk of certain diseases as compared to women attributing to their lifestyle, habits, genetic factors, work patterns, gender related behaviours.

Here are top 5 health risks for men –

1. Heart Diseases

Heart diseases which are also known as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number 1 killer worldwide and accounts for 1 out of 4 deaths in males. Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops when arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles become hardened and narrowed which reduces blood flow and therefore oxygen to the heart leading to heart attack.

Most of the risk factors for heart diseases are modifiable and thus a heart attack is preventable to the larger extent if appropriate lifestyle and dietary modifications are brought about.

Prevention includes avoidance of excessive smoking and alcohol consumption, blood pressure control, maintaining appropriate blood sugar level, keeping a check on cholesterol levels, doing physical activity especially cardio activities for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week, weight control.

2. Accidents

Accidents cannot be called as a “health risk “and certainly not a gender specific health risk yet many men die in big numbers every year due to road accidents, injuries due to fall and fire accidents. According to a report in Economic times in 2018 – In India, more than 150,000 people are killed each year only in traffic accidents. 

Prevention includes avoidance of speaking or texting on mobile phone while driving, avoiding speeding, avoiding drunk and driving.

Try to avoid falls by regular exercises which would improve body’s strength and balance, have regular eye check-ups and improve lighting of your surroundings. To ensure fire safety – install smoke alarms, check safety of heating units and cooking units, electrical units and appliances.     

3. Cancer

Most common forms of cancers in men are cancers of lung, liver, prostrate and intestine.

Men after the age of 40, must get checked on regular basis for prostate cancer. Commonly used household chemicals and cosmetics contain cancer-causing compounds. Apart from genetic factors, it is estimated that up to 20% of cancer cases can be linked to environmental exposure of toxins like tobacco, alcohol, air pollution, food chemicals and diets rich in meat and low in vegetables.

Prevention includes avoidance of risk factors, regular screening and check-ups for cancer and its early symptoms, and early detection in high risk individuals.

4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

It is the leading cause of death among males; risk factors include smoking (both active and passive) and air pollution. This disease can also be a result of professional hazard for those working in mining or stone quarries.

For prevention – cessation of smoking, lessening exposure to environmental pollution, increase in ventilation and fresh air by opening windows at home and workplace, using portable air cleaners, minimise exposure to workplace chemicals and industrial pollutants will help to mitigate the risk of COPD.

5. Cerebrovascular accident or stroke

A cerebrovascular accident occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted by either a blood clot creating blockage in an artery or rupture of blood vessel in the brain. Brain cells begin to deteriorate, and brain damage occurs. This condition leads to loss of speech, movement and memory.

Preventable risk factors of stroke include hypertension, stress, anxiety, tobacco consumption, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity, drug abuse.

Finally, it can be concluded that many of these risks to life and health in men are preventable by adopting healthy lifestyle and habits and with efforts to maintain physical fitness and mental peace.

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Life. Take care

Contributed by – Dr. Parag Sharma, M.D Director at Aarogya hospital, Hapur

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