World Heart Day 2022: Quit SMOKING otherwise your heart...
This World Heart Day let's find out the most common habits that affect the heart and why lifestyle changes are very much needed in this day and age.
- World Heart Day is observed on 29th September every year
- Post-COVID times require a lot of heart care
- Exercise is essential but overexerting yourself creates more problems
World Heart Day 2022: We have entered a post-COVID era where even though the pandemic is over, the diseases continue. Locked inside our homes for good two years has made us dull and stressed, some of us no longer wish to participate in physical activities or engage in an active lifestyle. Yet there are some who have begun to overexert themselves with gyming and gulping down protein jars! What's missing is the balance- equal parts regular exercise with healthy dietary habits.
This World Heart Day, we discuss the causes of deteriorating heart health with Dr Prashant Pawar - Senior Consultant Interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Navi Mumbai. He is an expert in interventional cardiology, heart failure and preventive cardiology. He talks about poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, stress levels, addictions and more. He speaks from and for the heart as he tells us how we can keep the heart healthy and happy.
With the recent demise of celebrities like Raju Srivastava and Siddharth Shukla issues of the heart have come into mainstream media and discussions about the same are taking place. Earlier the age limit was 50 years when a heart attack or any cardiac issue used to occur but now a decade earlier these incidents are taking place, especially in the case of these celebrities who were mostly healthy.
Poor eating habits- a lot of junk food, no physical activity, working from home for 8-10 hours, lazying around on sofas and binge eating which leads to a rise in cholesterol levels and contributes to obesity. Most often it is stress which plays a major role in this lifestyle development because even though it is work from home for most of us people continue to experience a lot of stress (home or office) which enables the release of stress hormones- cortisol.
The incidence rate of hypertension and cholesterol was extremely high during the COVID period in comparison to data from the past decade or so. Along with that mental health too played a key role in the build-up of a sedentary lifestyle because experiencing the loss of one or in some cases, more family members brought about depressive symptoms and elevated stress levels.
A rampant lifestyle choice in our society today is smoking cigarettes. Now, this could be a result of stress at work or home because men as young as 22 years are experiencing heart attacks and the main reason for such conditions is smoking. Smoking kills if not immediately slowly and gradually it does. Alcohol is also an equal contributor to these increasing cardiovascular issues.
With not much physical activity for two long years, people have suddenly shifted to a healthy lifestyle with extreme workout sessions and no fibre foods. Now the heart is not tuned to such sudden changes that can precipitate a cardiac event. Untrained people trying to train youngsters into high-intensity workouts by making them run on TMTs for hours is a matter of concern.
The youth who get drawn to these rigorous workouts end up with early cardiac issues because everything else smoking creates a lot of thrombosis which is the clotting of the blood in some part of the circulatory system and blockages occur in the coronary artery resulting in increased levels of cholesterol.
Eat fresh fruits and avoid fried foods, consume more green leafy vegetables and home-cooked meals high in protein and reduce your fat and carbohydrate intake. Sodium/ salt in processed foods is high which is a big red flag for your heart health. Applying western diets to Indian households is impractical so rather than eating quinoa you should know what is cooked in your kitchen at home and consumption of even baked processed goods is not a healthy choice because they contain something called trans fat and palm oil which elevates the cholesterol levels in the depositories. Stay away from red meat; chicken, fish and eggs can be consumed.
World Heart Day message
People should get out of this boredom but not by over-exerting their body and heart and always go for routine heart tests because knowing your heart is essential in order to make any lifestyle changes. Even before buying a house, you conduct a full inspection of the house then why not do the same with your body? Regular tests can tell us a lot about how the heart rates, cholesterol levels and effects of hypertension are building up in our bodies and what is it impacting. Exercise is key but does not overexert instead keep a 20-30 minute workout routine which could be simple walking, cycling or swimming. Just make smarter choices.