For A Healthy Heart

For a healthy heart

In the recent times it’s not uncommon to hear of young people suffering from strokes and other heart related diseases. Given the stressful, desk-bound lives people lead and the junk food dependent lifestyle they follow, it’s not surprising either, say health experts. “One out of five people suffer from blood pressure problems,” says Dr J. P. Jaiswal, cardiologist at Norvic International Hospital in Thapathali, Kathmandu.

According to Dr Jaiswal, people suffer from either high- or low pressure related problems and both need to be tackled early on to prevent it from affecting your heart health. The Week caught up with him to better understand how we can keep the heart healthy and also how we can prevent heart diseases even if it’s in the genes.

How do heart diseases occur?

Our heart is made up of three major parts – valves, veins, and current. Valves are known as the doors of the heart through which blood enters and exits. When there are complications in the opening and closing of the valves it will lead to valvular diseases which will manifest itself in rapid breathing. Similarly, a blockage in the veins obstructs the flow of blood both into and out of the heart. This can bring about a heart attack. And a problem in current means lack of normal rhythm of the heart. In this case, the beating of the heart may stay steady or get chaotic. This is dangerous and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest if not treated on time. But all heart diseases can be prevented to a large extent or treated with medication or surgery.

What are the risk factors for heart diseases?

There are five major factors that are considered to be responsible for heart diseases. The factors are hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetics, smoking, high cholesterol, and genetic. These are the risk factors for most heart diseases. I always advise my patients to quit smoking if they do and to make sure their cholesterol levels are in check. These things can be controlled by the patients themselves while for others routine checkup and medication are needed. Other factors like stress and pollution can also lead to heart diseases and a doctor can advise you properly on how to tackle the effects of these lifestyle related issues.

What are some of the symptoms of heart diseases?

Though there will be many tell-tale signs of an underlying problem in your heart, there is one common symptom in almost all heart diseases. You will feel a certain heaviness in your chest region while walking or moving about and the heaviness will go away when you rest. Some times the pain will last for 20 minutes or so and will radiate to your hands and chin too. In many cases, this will also lead to excessive sweating. Other symptoms include headache, nosebleeds, frequent drying of mouth etc. If you have these symptoms, then don’t hesitate to get it checked out. A simple precaution can save your life.   How can you keep your heart healthy?

A health diet is extremely important if you want to be healthy and stay that way. A lot of health problems people face today is because of unhealthy diet habits. Don’t smoke, drink in moderation if you must, and make sure your diet contains a lot of greens and fibers, and is balanced. Then it’s also equally important for everybody above the age of 30 to get regular checkups at least once every year. You should have your blood pressure and sugar level checked out, along with cholesterol levels too. Again, quit smoking if you do. It’s never too late to stop. Also, cut down on salt and red meat intake. I also ask my female patients to avoid using oral contraceptives as far as possible. And lastly, you should see to it that you are in a good place mentally. Don’t stress over everything and create unnecessary tension in your life. It’s not good for your heart.

Is there anything you recommend people do to tackle stress?

I recommend yoga to my patients when they complain that their lifestyle is hectic and that they don’t have a moment’s peace. I find it’s very important to be peaceful to allow your body to function at its best. A stressful mind can lead to many health problems. Other than that, I also recommend you exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes every day. You can choose any exercise that gets your heart pumping. Walk, jog, dance, the options are endless.

What are the things you need to keep in mind if you suffer from a heart condition?

First, never skip your medication and routine checkup. That’s of paramount importance. If you are on medication, then don’t ‘forget’ to take your medicine. It might happen once in a while but for many, it becomes a habit. Then getting regular exercise when you have heart disease is important. Exercise can make your heart muscle stronger. It may also help you be more active without chest pain or other symptoms. Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. You need to make sure the exercise you would like to do is safe for you. And this is especially important if you have recently had a heart attack, a surgery, or have other health conditions that make you prone to heart diseases.


Story Credit: http://www.myrepublica.com/news/27168/