Tips to prevent Heart Attacks
Heart attacks are the number one killer of mankind across the world. Cases of heart attacks are rising in developing nations including India. In contemporary times heart attack patients are younger, often less than 50 years of age in recent years. This may be due to changes in the lifestyle of our younger generation.
What's the reason for rising cases of heart attacks in our country and why are younger people getting affected?
Is there any specific reason that increases one's risk of developing a heart attack? Are there any effective measures to prevent a heart attack?
The answer is Yes in majority of cases.
Some lifestyle changes, if adopted, significantly decreases the risk of developing blockages in blood vessels that result in a heart attack.
Maintain healthy body weight
Obesity, especially belly fat, is a risk factor for developing blockages in blood vessels that supply the heart. Obese and overweight individuals are at higher risk.
Sitting for long hours at desk jobs can increase the risk for heart attacks. Use stairs whenever possible. Avoid using vehicles for small distances. Daily physical exercise, at least 30 min of moderate exercise like jogging, cycling for at least 5 days a week is required to keep your heart heathy.
What to eat and what to avoid
Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, low fat dairy products, egg white, seafood and lean meat. Avoid processed foods like Maida, fast foods like pizza, cakes and other bakery items, deep fried foods, egg yolk and, red meat. Cooking oil should be vegetable oil; mustard, sunflower, olive, canola, and rice bran. Avoid using ghee and butter. Even vegetable oil should be used in moderation.
Salt intake should be limited. Table salt should be avoided. Processed or packaged food items are high in salt and refined sugars should be avoided.
Smoking is a major cause for heart attacks in younger population. Quitting smoking reduces heart attack risk by 50 percent at 6 months of quitting.
Keep your diabetes, blood pressure and Cholesterol levels (risk factors) under control
Having one or more of these diseases uncontrolled significantly increases the risk of heart diseases. Keep them checked regularly and control these diseases in consultation with your doctor.
Talking to a friend or family, exercising, yoga, hobbies like music or gardening may help reduce stress levels and contribute to reducing the risk for heart attack.
Those who have a family member who had a heart attack maybe at higher risk, so they should follow these lifestyle measures more religiously to prevent future heart problems.
Dr. Ashish Agarwal
Senior Consultant & HOD