Heart is an organ of the body which keeps on working nonstop throughout our lifetime . The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries with it oxygen, nutrients , hormones, other compounds, and a host of essential cells. It also whisks away the waste products of metabolism.
Given the heart's never-ending workload, it's a wonder that it performs so well, for so long. But it can also fail, brought down by a a number of health conditions and other factors.
In 2016, the estimated number of people having heart disease in India was estimated to be 54.5 million. One in 4 deaths in India are now because of heart related diseases with ischemic heart disease (coronary artery blockage )and stroke responsible for >80% of this burden.
The important factors responsible for heart disease are Diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), tobacco use( including smoking ), dyslipidaemia ( bad cholesterol in blood) , obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and aging population.
Now question arises “ how to prevent the development of heart disease?”
Most of these factors are modifiable. It means we can effectively control or stop these conditions before they cause heart problems, like good control of blood pressure and diabetes, treatment of bad cholesterol, avoiding tobacco & smoking , regular physical exercise and avoiding / controlling mental stress.
For a normal healthy individual any form of aerobic exercise like brisk walking, cycling , jogging, or swimming for at least 45 minutes a day is heart healthy exercise.
A balanced diet with limited use of fats/oil, carbohydrate and sugar, and having high amount of fibres ,green vegetables & fruits is good for heart.
People with conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes , those with family history of heart disease and individual above age of 40 years should undergo periodic ( at least once in a year ) evaluation of their heart health.
Another important step is community education about heart diseases and symptoms of heart attack , so that a person having heart attack can be identified early and can be shifted to a hospital capable of dealing with heart attack. After heart attack every minute wasted before treatment decreases chances of survival and reduces heart’s pumping capacity permanently.
With a healthy life style, preventive measures and early detection and treatment of heart disease we can save people and our community from heart related deaths and disabilities.