Here are 10 significant tips about Heart Health by Dr. Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute New Delhi.
World Heart Day is
celebrated on 29th September 2020 which brings in focus the vital
organ of our body heart. To discuss more on heart health and its several
parameters Famhealth is in an exclusive conversation with Dr. Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute
When asked about the scale of Heart Diseases in India Dr. Ashok Seth says,
India has become the heart attack capital of
the world. In last 30years there’s an increase for about 300% in the rate of
heart diseases whereas it has dropped in the west by almost 50%.
In last 50 years heart diseases have grown in
young people by 100% which is almost double if we compare to west. India is a young
country with 60% of population less than 40 years of age so these numbers are
really scary because half of the country is at risk of getting a heart disease.
When asked about the reason for such
astonishing numbers about Heart Disease in India Dr. Ashok Seth says,
Lifestyle is one of the most obvious reasons
for the country to develop a heart disease. Today’s is a competitive world with
job competitiveness, educational competitiveness, meeting deadlines, stress, no
exercise and eating junk all of these lead to a unhealthy heart.
Unhealthy lifestyle issues lead to developing
of cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and ultimately leading to blockage of
arteries and a stroke.
Pollution is another major factor that leads to
blockages of arteries, results in hypertension and youth are most vulnerable to
develop all these because they mostly remain outside for work or study.
Another leading and very obvious factor is
smoking. Youth is under stress due to one or the either reason they develop a
habit of smoking and alcoholism thus digging in their own graves i.e. pushing one
to develop a heart disease.
When asked about possible ways to avoid a heart disease Dr. Ashok Seth says,
A regular routine check-up of lipid profiles, diabetes,
and cholesterol level above the age of 25 in men is very necessary. If a person
is beyond 45 years of age then they should go for a complete check-up and
should be very cautious about their heart health.
Leading a very healthy lifestyle is very
important exercising for 45 minutes 5 times in a week reduces the risk of heart
disease by 25%.
Go for tests like blood tests, ECG, exercise
tests are recommended for a person to know about the functioning of heart which
reveal almost 10%-20% blockage of arteries in heart.
CT scan and CT angiogram are very important to
know about the heart health of a person. This test reveals almost 30%-40%
blockage of arteries in the heart which means a person is at high risk of
getting a heart disease.
Tips for Healthy Heart
Experts say trans fats are not good for heart health. Trans fats are found in deep fried food items and oily food items. This is because trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering your good cholesterol levels (HDL). By cutting them from your diet, you improve the blood flow throughout your body.
Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream. These bacteria can cause inflammation of the bold vessels, which may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart healthy. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. It is suggestive to make sleep a priority. Experts recommend a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Research has shown that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your heart health no matter how much exercise you do. Experts say it’s important to move throughout the day. Some easy steps are – Park farther away from the office, take a few shorter walks throughout the day and/or use a standing work station.
Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths. Try to maintain a distance from passive smokers.
A healthy human heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime. The heart is a muscular organ, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Blood supplies our organs with oxygen and nutrients, and helps in the removal of metabolic wastes.
According to centre of disease control there are various health conditions which can lead to heart disease. Some major contributory factors are genetics, age, poor lifestyle, age and family history. Genetics, age and family history are the factors which cannot be controlled. However, one can adopt a good lifestyle and can choose to eat a healthy diet to prevent heart diseases.
Risk factors causing heart diseases:
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
High blood pressure is one of the prime risk factors for heart disease. It is a medical condition resulting due to an excessive pressure of blood in arteries and other blood vessels. Hypertension is regarded as the one of the prime causes of major heart conditions like heart attack.
High blood pressure is also referred to as “silent killer”, as most of the people do not observe the symptoms of high blood pressure. However, high blood pressure can be controlled with a right diet, medication and a healthy life style.
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy thin, substance which is naturally produced by liver. However, consuming foods rich in saturated fats can lead to high cholesterol levels in our blood. The excess cholesterol gets deposited in the walls of the arteries which leads to their narrowing, thereby leading to major heart diseases like atherosclerosis and heart attack.
Diabetes mellitus another major risk factor of heart disease. The body needs sugar for providing energy and in normal circumstances pancreas produces enough insulin for the sugar to get utilized. However, in diabetes either no insulin or less insulin is produced by the body leading to sugar accumulation in the blood.
Major Heart Diseases
Angina is also known as chest pain or discomfort caused when the heart muscle is devoid of enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina patients may experience heaviness or tightness in the chest which can even radiate to arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. Angina is an alarming condition of a major heart disease and should not be ignored.
Management of Angina
Treatment for angina not only reduces the symptoms but also minimizes the risk for heart attack and death.
Treatment options include:
Modifications in the lifestyle such as quitting smoking, managing weight, eating right, keeping stress at bay, and controlling diabetes
Taking medications like calcium channel blockers, satins (as prescribed by doctor)
Treatment like stenting, coronary artery bypass (depending what doctor opts for)
Cardiac rehabilitation post cardiac procedure which aims for physical fitness, minimize cardiac symptoms, and improves the overall health, and lowers the risk for heart problems in the future
Aortic stenosis is one of the most prevalent and most severe valve diseases of the heart which occurs due to obstruction of blood flow across the aortic valve. Affected patients may suffer from complications like chest pain, fainting, and heart failure which might lead to shortness of breath. This condition could be genetic or age related.
Management of Aortic Stenosis
Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on symptoms and the extent of the disease.
Mild disease may not require any treatment; however, a regular ECG is done by the doctor to forecast any complication. In severe cases the treatment includes:
Replacing the aortic valve: Aortic valve replacement is the only effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis.
Medications: There is no specific medication for this condition, however blood pressure is controlled to prevent further complications.
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, which eventually causes blockage and limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs. It is one of the prime causes of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease together called cardiovascular disease.
Management of Atherosclerosis
Lifestyle management-Eating a healthy diet
A healthy diet is primarily a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low in refined carbohydrates, saturated, trans fats, and sodium.
Some simple ways are to switch from white to whole-grain bread, eating fruits and vegetables rather than refined food items, using olive oil instead of solid fats like butter, and reducing sugar and sugar substitutes to a greater extent.
Quit smoking– According to the Mayo Clinic- for heavy smoker, quitting is the single most effective way to stop atherosclerosis from getting worse and reduce risk of complications
Maintain healthy weight– obese individuals are more prone to heart disease. Hence, a person should try to maintain a healthy weight.
Manage Stress– Keep the body relaxed; try deep breathing, meditation, and yoga to keep stress at bay. .
Medications and Surgery– Doctor may prescribe medication like cholesterol medication, anti-platelet medication, and calcium channel blockers. Surgery includes angioplasty, endarterectomy and bypass grafting
Atrial fibrillation (also referred to as AFib or AF) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) which can cause complications like blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Management of Atrial Fibrillation
The atrial fibrillation treatment depends on how long the patient has had atrial fibrillation, acuteness of symptoms and the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation. Generally, the treatment goals for atrial fibrillation are to:
SILVER YEARS – PHYSICAL/MENTAL/EMOTIONAL WELL BEING
Some Diseases Associated With Old Age
Old age is also known as senescence. Normally silver years or old age is defined as period of the life from 60-65 years. A regular exercise and eating a well balanced diet can help to fight against many infections and diseases associated with the old age.
Silver Years- Physical/Mental/Emotional Well Being
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if proper health care measures are taken after 65 years of age ,one can live for an another 19.3 years.
According to Jeanne Wei, MD, PhD, executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, people who adopt healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid age related health risks.
Here is a list of some diseases associated with old age:
According to CDC 49.7 percent of elderly suffer from arthritis. Elderly mostly suffer from painful condition called osteoarthritis, which is painful and limits mobility in elderly.
2. Heart Disease
Elderly with risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that increase the chances of have a high tendency of developing cardiovascular diseases like stroke. Eating well balanced and frequent meals along with exercise can prevent elderly from the heart related disorders.
As per the CDC reports, 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women over age 65 are living with cancer. Hence regular checkups like mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks can prevent different type of cancers.
4. Respiratory Diseases
CDC has reported that chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the third most common cause of death among people 65 and older. Elderly suffer from chronic respiratory infections such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema. These problems can make elderly to easily fall for conditions like pneumonia. Early checks can prevent the pneumonia in elderly.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
As per the Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people age 65 and older, which is about 11 percent, have Alzheimer’s disease, but because diagnosis is challenging, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are living with this chronic condition. Diagnosing this disease at an early stage can help to deal with it an early stage.
Osteoporosis is also an age-related problem in elderly, especially in women. Osteoporosis can contribute towards less mobility and a deranged stature in elderly.
According to CDC 25 percent of people ages 65 and older are living with diabetes. It is necessary to check for pre diabetes conditions and monitoring blood sugar levels can help to control the disease.
8. Influenza and Pneumonia
According to the CDC ,flu and pneumonia infections are among the top eight causes of death in people over age 65. Seniors are more vulnerable to these diseases and less able to fight them off. Vaccination can prevent elderly to fall for these infections .
As per the CDC repots, 2.5 million people ages 65 and older are treated in emergency departments because of falls. Elderly should walk carefully and should refrain from using slippery bath rooms.
Obesity is an important senior health risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also decreases the motility in elderly leading to various complications such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
According to CDC many elderly suffer from depression. Support from friends and family and increased social interaction can prevent depression in elderly.
12. Oral Health
Oral health becomes compromised in elderly due to functional and physiological changes. Elderly are advised to visit dentist after every 6 months for a regular assessment. Dentures and oral rehabilitation measures are taken by the dentists to restore the dental health in elderly.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one out of three people over 60 will get shingles. People who suffer from chicken pox in childhood uaually encounter shingles as they grow with age. A good immune system and good health status helps elderly to recover from shingles at a faster pace.