The human heart is a relentless organ that works round-the-clock to keep us alive and healthy. A normal human heart pumps close to 2000 gallons of blood in a day while beating about 1,00,000 times a day. Despite its amazing functions, the care that a heart receives is very less. Do you know that in India one person dies every 33 seconds due to heart attack?
What causes heart diseases?
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Despite this, 80% of heart disease cases are preventable. It is our decision to keep our heart healthy and disease-free. So, let us all celebrate World Heart Day on September 29th and learn about few risk factors that can harm our heart:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Genetic history of heart disease.
- Diet rich in Trans fats and refined sugars.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
Know how to keep your heart healthy
Desk jobs and sedentary lifestyles are increasing the risk of heart diseases. Ensure that you get up after every 15 minutes from your desk and take a small walk. Also, try to incorporate atleast 20 minutes exercise as a part of your daily routine.
Give up smoking:
A smoker is at a higher risk of suffering from heart diseases. Smoking leads to an increase in blood pressure and formation of blood clots in arteries. According to the World Heart Federation, if you are exposed to secondhand smoke, your risk of developing heart diseases increases by 25-30%.
Follow a heart-friendly diet:
A diet constituting of seafood like tuna, salmon, sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglycerides as well as prevent clot formation in blood vessels. Consuming walnuts, almonds, cashews will increase the level of good cholesterol that is good for your heart. Also, dark colored fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that can keep your heart healthy.
Practice good oral hygiene:
Visit your dentist twice a year for cleaning and practice flossing to keep your gums free from inflammation. A good oral hygiene implies that you keep your gum disease-free as it leads to an increase in C-reactive protein.
Get enough sleep:
A good 7 to 8 hours sleep should be a priority. Not only will it rejuvenate you, but it will also give your heart adequate time to relax and function efficiently.
Maintain a healthy weight:
Body Mass Index (BMI) values determine an ideal weight. Ensure that you keep your weight intact as it can lead to high cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Do not skip your meals, maintain a daily intake of calories and exercise daily.
Manage stress effectively:
We all know that stress cannot be avoided; it has become an inevitable part of our life. An inability to handle stress and anxiety is strenuous for the heart, mind and body. Try to practice yoga, meditation or any stress bursting activity to rejuvenate your body.
Tests that will help diagnose heart disease
After 25 years of age, a yearly physical examination that includes a cardiology check up is advisable. But after you cross 40, a yearly visit with cardiologist is mandatory for assessing your heart’s health. Below are few important tests that can help you diagnose heart disease:
Total Lipid Profile
This test will provide you with good and bad cholesterol levels. Your total cholesterol should be within 200mm/ml. Having a high cholesterol level can lead to Hypercholesterolemia, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This is yet another simple test that reveals information about the heart rate and rhythm. It can even reveal whether a chest pain was heart-related or not.
This test is done in individuals with a medical history of hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes. It is effective in determining heart risk assessment alongside analyzing its pumping efficiency and valve functioning.
Exercise stress test
It is the most effective and economical test to assess the risk of heart diseases in patients who have a history of chest pain. It uses a combination of ECG monitoring and treadmill exercise to screen the electrical activity of heart.
These simple steps will keep cardiovascular diseases at bay. Stay aware and healthy!