Heart diseases have entwined our lives. Scientific research tells us that any mitigation of this problem would require corrective actions to be undertaken decades in advance.
Framingham heart study was done on a large data registry, following up patients for decades, giving leads on factors that were associated with longevity and a healthy heart. Few of the most important entities that have been implicated for a poor cardiac health were diabetes, smoking, hypertension, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Stress has been recently proven to be a silent killer affecting even the very young, who are otherwise healthy.
Based on half a century follow up, researchers have shared recommendations to maintain the health of the heart. Diet and exercise have been the major pillars for adequate functioning of the heart.
Dr Deepesh Venkatraman of BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru said, "The dietary options are more to suit the taste buds and are devoid of the native virtues. Vegetables are fried, fruits are processed as jams and juices with sugar excess, cereals are powdered and refined compromising its fiber content, oil and ghee have been adulterating the taste expectations at the cost of un-perceived hazards."
"Salt content in refrigerated products and ready to cook foods have been overwhelming our body's water handling machinery, leading to hypertension. In summary, when we eat, 8 times out of 10, we will bombard ourselves with non-manageable tsunami of hard-to-handle food content, which bypasses our natural digestion and excretion and gets stored up at all abnormal places, including arterial walls supplying to heart. Opting for natural, uncooked food like fruits and vegetable, especially organically grown, can go a long way in rejuvenating our systems and improving the heart health," added Dr Deepesh Venkatraman.
The additive insult is when the taste bud lures us to consume more than required and our sedentary life fails to burn it. It's only a symptom, self-motivation to exercise or a doctor prescription, which can mobilise people out of their comfort zones. Unknowingly the lack of exercise is leading to storage of food as fat, deposition of bad cholesterol, early onset of diabetes and hypertension, obesity and various other psychosocial stresses.
Prof (Dr) L Sreenivasa Murthy of Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru added that it is important to keep fit to avoid various conditions like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, all of which have an impact on cardiac health.
He said, "If you develop diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing heart disease. Yet again, physical activity can help reduce the risk of developing the condition. This is particularly true if you are at high risk of diabetes owing to genetic factors. If you do have diabetes, keeping active will better protect your heart. In people with diabetes, exercise is thought to improve blood glucose control, which reduces the negative impact on the vascular heart. Similarly, raised blood pressure in someone less than 50 years old is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. As you get older, your blood pressure becomes a more important predictor of the risk of cardiovascular disease."
Meditation, social empathy and participation in community activities are our major hope for empowerment against stressful situations. Quitting smoking and other illicit substance abuse, regular biennial cardiac checkup and accessing medical help when in doubt can make a significant impact on conquering the epidemic of heart disease.