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.
Good habits for Mental health
Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, avoid cigarettes, drink plenty of water, exercise and get enough sleep.
Deal with stress-Stress is a part of life. Practice good coping skills and try to manage stress. Experts suggest including yoga, meditation and exercise in daily routine. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.
Exercising everyday-Physical activity can have a positive impact on our mood. Even as little as a brisk 10-minute walk can increase our positive mood. Exercise releases certain hormones which are stress busters and relaxes our body and mind to a great extent.
Bask in Sun-Research has proved that sunlight helps promote the production of vitamin D which increases your level of serotonin (which helps regulate your mood) in the brain. Plus, time in nature is a proven stress reducer. It is advisable to daily sit in a good sunlight for atleast 10-15 mins for a good mental health.
Avoid alcohol and other drugs-Experts recommend alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems. They are addictive and can only complicate stress levels.
Good Habits for healthy metabolism
Stress- It is a widely known fact that stress is a number one cause to a large number of diseases. According to a study conducted by the researches at the Ohio State University, stress is in direct correlation decline in metabolism speed. It is advisable to have a daily habit to find a quiet place and relax for at least fifteen minutes by doing deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation.
Drink more water- Without enough water intake, our metabolism gets “depressed” as the research by the University of Utah shows. An optimal amount of water intake for an adult would be eight glasses of water per day. Additionally, it is highly advised to drink one glass of water before a meal, as water consumption before the meal helps enhance your metabolism speed.
Eat often-Eating can actually boost your metabolism. It is recommended to eat smaller/lesser meals more frequently. Experts suggest, you should have five small meals every three hours. Also, eating at the same time every day, and avoiding late dinners helps in boosting metabolism
Good Sleep-Irregular sleeping habits can harm your metabolism causing stress and craving for sugar and bad carbs. Quality sleep requires sleeping in a well aired room without artificial light for at least eight hours. To keep your metabolism from slowing down you should try to go to bed at the same time and wake up early each day
Increase your iron levels-Iron helps to transform blood sugar into energy that fuels the muscles in the human body. Including foods rich in iron such as fish, red meat and beans into your daily eating regiment, can help boost your metabolism during physical activity.
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:
Immune system helps to fight against the infections and the diseases, and acts lifelong in preventing against the infections and the diseases. A weakened immunity makes a person to fall sick immediately.
What does research say in improving the immune function?
Research is continually being made and shown how diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors influence the immune system of the adults and the children.
Adopt healthy life style habits such as:
Good hygiene-Practice good hygiene methods such as properly wash your hands before consuming food. Maintain good sanitary hygiene methods.
Vaccination- Go for all the mandatory vaccinations required under national immunization programme.
Food Safety-Eat fresh, healthy and clean food
Clean water- Drink chlorinated and safe water.
Refrain from smoking
Consume a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Keep your weight under check
Take adequate sleep.
Take important steps to keep stress at bay.
Some herbs which can boost the immune system:
Research has shown that the benefits of following herbs, supplements and essential oils which have been found in building the immunity:
A 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that Echinacea was found beneficial in fighting against some recurrent infections, and showed a great benefit in preventing against many infections.
A 2003 study conducted at the University of Wisconsin Medical School demonstrated that Echinacea can boost the immune system. Echinacea was found beneficial in stimulating and boosting the immunity and was found beneficial in fighting against upper respiratory tract infections
Hippocrates, the father of medicine realized the importance of the plant elderberry considering its great health benefits, including its ability to fight colds, the flu, allergies and inflammation. Studies have indicated that elderberry has the power to boost the immune system, especially because it has proven to help treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu.
A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research found that using elderberry within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract reduced the duration of the fly
Silver was a popular to stop spreading the diseases since ancient times. Silver has been recognized as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated that colloidal silver was able to significantly inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Taking one drop of the colloidal silver everyday and applying it on the wounds yields great benefits.
It has been found that an unhealthy gut is a major cause of food related infections, cause autoimmune disease and immune imbalance or a weakened immune system. Probiotics such as yogurt, curd release good bacteria which help to boost the natural immunity.
A research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests that probiotic bacteria may induce different cytokine responses. Probiotics consume at the infancy have proved to improve the immune response and builds the immunity to fight infections.
Astragalus is a plant which belongs to the bean and legumes family. Traditional Chinese Medicine has used this plant to build the natural immunity.
A recent review published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that astragalus-based treatments have shown great benefits in the improvement of the toxicity induced by drugs such as immune suppressants and cancer chemotherapeutics. Researchers concluded that astragalus extract has a beneficial effect on the immune system, and it protects the body from gastrointestinal inflammation and cancers.
Indian Ayurveda medicine has relied on ginger’s ability for how to boost your immune system before recorded history. It’s believed that ginger can remove the toxins primarily due to its warming effects. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
Ginger root and ginger essential oil can be used to treat infections and diseases with its immune nutrition and anti-inflammatory responses. Ginger also has antimicrobial property, which helps in treating infectious diseases.
Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses and a Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. Research shows that vitamin D works to maintain tolerance and promote protective immunity. There have been multiple cross-sectional studies that associate lower levels of vitamin D with increased infection.
One study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital included 19,000 participants, and it showed that individuals with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables such as season, age, gender, body mass and race. Sometimes addressing a nutritional deficiency is how to boost your immune system.
Some other foods which can boost the immune system are:
Oats and Barley
How to Boost Your Immune System with Lifestyle Changes
One must perform exercises on a routine basis to strengthen your immune system. A 2018 human study published in Aging Cell revealed that high levels of physical activity and exercise improve the immune senescence (gradual decline of the immune system) in older adults aged 55 through 79, compared to those in the same age group who were physically inactive. Healthy ageing can be achieved with help of the exercise and good physical activity.Few points as a precaution:
These herbs and medicines taken to boost the immune system should be used in moderation and gap should be given in their consumption. They are highly potent in their nature so must be consumed at regular intervals
Avoid their use if you are pregnant or use them under the guidance of your doctor.
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect our ability to sleep on a regular basis. The human body is programmed to work in the day and sleep at night. Any imbalance in this fine balance can lead to a disturbed sleep pattern and a feeling of tiredness and irritation the next day.
The sleep cycle is governed by a hormone called melatonin.It’s levels go up at night and reduce in the day. This cycle can be disrupted by change of time zones due to travel or exposure to artificial light for prolonged periods.
While we all experience the occasional night of disturbed sleep, some people experience insomnia, which can be difficulty in falling asleep, waking up repeatedly at night or waking up early. Insomniacs feel unrefreshed the next day and they may feel sleepy, irritable or unable to concentrate.
What are the reasons for insomnia?
There can be many reasons for insomnia
Change of time zones
Prolonged exposure to artificial light
Some medicines can also disrupt the sleep cycle. These can commonly include some medicines for treating hypertension, asthma, anti-depressants and steroids.
Working night shifts
Too much tea, coffee and nicotine
Psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia
Common complications that can arise from sleep disorder
Fatigue in the day time
Raised blood pressure and heart problems
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Affected relationships because it leads to sleep-deprived partners
How do I know that I have a sleep disorder?
People with sleep disorders can have one or more of these symptoms-
Difficulty in falling asleep
Getting up frequently at night
Waking up feeling unrefreshed
Lack of concentration
Feeling sleepy in the daytime
Depression or anxiety
What are the measures that can help in promoting good sleep?
Some simple measure can help you I case you’re unable to fall asleep
Turn off all electronic devices at bedtime, even reading devices can be distracting due to the backlight. A simple book or soothing music might work better
Have dinner at least two hours prior to bedtime.
Avoid tea and coffee after the evening.
Meditation and breathing exercises can also be beneficial.
When to meet the doctor
If these measures don’t help or the lack of sleep is affecting your daytime activities, it might be a good idea to take your doctor’s opinion.
How is a sleep disorder managed?
To diagnose the cause of your sleep disorder, the doctor might as you about your lifestyle, check your blood pressure and advise some basic investigations to see your level of general health Do be sure to share any information regarding any medicines you might be taking, including herbal supplements.
Sometimes, a sleep study might be advised where the doctor might observe your sleep pattern and record your brain activity with electrodes. This involves a night’s stay at a sleep center.
To treat insomnia, generally a combination of lifestyle changes, cognitive behavior therapy and some medicines for sleep might be prescribed. These could include anti- anxiety medicines, anti- depressants and melatonin.
Cognitive behavior therapy involves working with a counselor to overcome the negative emotions that are triggering or being generated due to the insomnia. It can involve learning relaxation techniques, maintaining a sleep diary and other measures that help in positive re-programming the mind towards a restful night’s sleep.
Sleep disorders can be easily managed with counseling and medical measures. It’s important to realize that it is a medical condition and that treatment options are available.
We advocate getting medical advice and supervision before starting any treatment regime.