World Heart Day: Never Too Late to Start Changing Your Lifestyle for Healthier Future

Heart disease is one of the prime causes of death worldwide and is mostly preventable by changing your lifestyle and managing risk factors. It is never too late to start changing your lifestyle towards a healthier heart. Says, Dr.S.R.Handa, senior interventional cardiologist attached to the Jaslok Hospital and Research Center from Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre. Following are some steps you can adopt to make your heart strong :

Minimum of Two and half hours per week – regular physical activity:

Get moving, your heart is a muscle and as with any muscle, exercise is what strengthens it. Physical activity contributes to weight control, improved Blood pressure, improved levels of Cholesterol and better control of Diabetes-mellitus. Inactive people can start with small amounts of physical activity and then gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity of exercise. Adults are recommended to perform at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week.

Lose weight if overweight:

Overweight adults should aim to reduce weight. Your weight is like your Bank balance to reduce it, you must stop depositing & increase the withdrawal. Similarly, you must reduce your food intake calories and burn calories by doing exercise. If your waist circumstance is more than 80cms for females and more than 90cms for males, you have central obesity. In other words if your abdominal circumference if more than your hips circumference you have increased risk of heart disease.

Eat heart healthy diet:

This diet includes a combination of different foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grain, legumes and nuts. Red meat should be avoided, and white meat like Chicken and Fish can be taken in moderation. Cut down on salty meats such as ham, bacon, sausages and dried fish. Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables should be increased.

Blood sugar and Blood pressure must be checked regularly:

To maintain a healthy heart you must regularly check the Blood pressure and Blood sugar. Many people do not have any symptoms because of high blood pressure but that effects Heart, Kidney, Eyes and Brain. If you have Blood pressure and Diabetes all efforts must be done to keep them under good control to avoid complications.

Avoid Tobacco in any form:

Quitting smoking is tough. Tobacco is poison for your Heart. You must quit tobacco immediately – which will be a boon for your Healthy heart. You will live 10 years longer. After a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is about half that of a smoker. After 15 years of quitting, the risk of heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.

Avoid use of Alcohol:

Alcohol effects heart by reducing the pumping function of heart Alcohol also causes many other health problems effecting liver and gastrointestinal system. There is no safe level for drinking Alcohol, so it’s better to avoid drinking Alcohol all – together to protect your heart.

It is also important to talk to your Cardiologist, Dietician, and involve family members, so they can help you plan the lifestyle-modifications you should take to get your heart health back on track. You must set targets with your health worker and take your medicines regularly, involve your loved ones in your journey to a Healthier Heart.

Adding to the above points, Dr. Mitul Thakker, Chief People and Compliance Officer, IKS Health, says, “One of the most dynamic and vital organs in our body is our Heart. The heart needs upkeep to operate at its optimal; there are umpteen ailments associated with the heart, minor as well as terminal. The economic transition, urbanization, unhealthy work-sleep routine and pollution are a few of the reasons that draw on the need for a serious lifestyle change that could alleviate the risk of Cardiovascular Disease.

“The pandemic has added further stress in our lives with the increased uncertainty and fear of the widespread virus. The initial steps towards taking up the responsibility to negate these risk factors is to start on a heart-healthy diet, a sleep routine that factors in adequate sleep, reasonable amount of physical activities for fitness, and some form of meditation. As an employer, promoting a healthy lifestyle by boosting employees’ efforts to be healthy is just one of the myriad ways that we can invest in the heart health of our workforce. Employers can create spaces and platforms, virtual as of right now and physical spaces when we get back to the offices, which encourage employees to take up physical activities for fitness.”