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Are you concerned about the health of your heart? Have you been suffering from blood pressure issues for a long time now? This health column is your saviour in that case!

This Valentine’s Day, let us pledge to make our health and body our valentine and take care of it well, a senior authority in his field tells us how…

He is an undisputed, ace cardiologist in the region and is among the leading medicos in his field in the world. Currently serving as the Head of Cardiology in the prestigious PGIMER, Dr. Yashpal Sharma gives some insight into keeping the heart healthy.

Rules-of-thumb for a regular person to take care of his or her heart

The most important ingredients to keep the heart healthy are diet, exercise, and behaviour. Also one should always control the risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, stress, smoking, lack of exercise, inadequate intake of fruits, vegetable and fibers, psychosocial stress and dyslipidemia. If these risk factors are controlled, 80 to 90 percent of the heart diseases can be prevented in a normal person and even for those who have heart diseases, they will have a better outcome and more lifespan.

Symptoms that are typical for heart patients

A heart attack is when there is 100 per cent blockage of the pulmonary artery. Partial blockage, which is less than 70 percent, causes no symptoms. When it is 70 to 90 per cent there is severe pain and aggression on the left side of the chest which goes to the arm. Typical chest pain can also occur, one should never ignore it. Earlier it used to be the old ones but now, younger people also have this pain. Doctors should investigate about the pain and should do the diagnosis whenever there is any pain on the left side of the chest. Other symptoms are fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness and palpitation. Sometimes a silent attack occurs especially in elder people and they can have cardiac arrest as well.

About silent attacks/strokes

Ignorance is a big cause. If there is any chest pain or any risk factors like diabetes, they should always consult a doctor. One should also not become apprehensive or ignore any symptoms that can have an adverse effect later. It is certainly possible that a person gets a silent attack if he or she never had one earlier in life. People immediately collapse during silent attacks. It depends. Sometimes they do have pain in the chest and sometimes no pain at all.

Cardiac arrest in bathrooms and how can these be prevented

It is because of rhythm disturbances and sudden hypotension. When people wake up and immediately go to the bathroom, the blood pressure fluctuates. Because of too much exposure to cold water, attacks occur. One should always take bath with warm water and should not immediately go for a shower. We should try pouring water from our feet to the head. Especially, in winters we should keep these things in mind. Sometimes the swimmers and athletes face cardiac arrests too. They should also get their heart examined. We should never ignore the pain, not even a minor one. It should always be diagnosed and well treated.

Inclusion of exercise and modification of daily activity to prevent heart diseases

One should always go for regular walks and exercise for at least 45 minutes to one hour every day. Heavy exercise like the gym is not very helpful, sometimes they have the tendency to increase Systemic Vascular Resistance that leads to stress on the heart. Trained, graded and moderate exercise is always useful and helpful for the heart. During winter season people should avoid walk in extremely cold days, this leads to heart problems by infections and increases the effect of cold on the blood vessels. So the blood pressure, heart attack and related diseases occur more frequently in winters. They get accelerated by cold.

Daily diet to lower heart disease risk and to control cholesterol levels

Diet plays the major role, balanced diet with adequate amount of carbohydrate, proteins, minerals, fats and iron is the most important. The frequency of food should be balanced. The dinner and bedtime should be early to conserve the energy in a better way. High proteins and low fats should be there.

The concept of heavy breakfast is not right. The intake of food should be according to the amount of work you do in a day. The intake of food should be according to the need. The best time for lunch is from 12 noon to 1 p.m. and for dinner it is 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Behaviour is also very important because aggressive behaviour leads to tachycardia and stress. Positive thinking, good behaviour also helps in having a good heart.

Early signs of a heart disease

High blood pressure, cholesterol levels, minor chest pains- all these should be checked frequently.

Foods that can accelerate heart diseases…

Refined oil, smoking and food in inadequate amount can all lead to problems. Always avoid over eating, we should never ignore the signals of brain that tells us not to over eat. Trans-fatty acids should not be included in the diet. Fat should not be taken in extra amount. Late food and more calories also accelerate heart diseases.

First aid steps to be taken when someone is having a heart attack

Take rest, do not walk nor run. Chew aspirin tablet when you feel the symptoms of heart attack. Blood pressure should be immediately checked. Lie down with the pillow slightly raised from the head and consult the doctor. Aspirin is the best first aid they can lower down sudden collapse while you reach your doctor.

Cause of exponential increase in heart problems among young people

Young people are having a bad lifestyle these days, they neither sleep on time nor do they have food on time, this is the primary reason. The time for right amount of sleep is between 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 or 5 a.m. This saves energy and helps in better controls over any problem. Also, they should keep in mind the weather- winters and summers. When people sleep more or late they get more prone to heart diseases. Optimum amount of sleep should be taken.

Many of us have an irregular daily routine, does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?

It does affect our heart. In a busy schedule minimum 45 minutes should be there for exercise which should be a moderate exercise like walk.

Relationship between heart problems and blood sugar

People with high blood sugar or diabetes have more heart problems. If the blood pressure is high, the heart problems are two to three times more as compared to the normal people. Also the response rate is not very good.

Routine check-up one should go through. Is there any specific test? How often should we see a cardiologist?

There are tests like ECG, Echo test and Treadmill test that one should go through, there are other tests also depending upon the problems. After the age of 30, every two to three years is the best time to see a cardiologist and Treadmill test should be done. After 45-50 years of age, one should go to the doctor yearly and have tests.

Important things people should know about the heart

People should know how to prevent heart diseases since it is the vital organ. Heart should be kept healthy- everyone should know small tips to keep heart healthy and be aware about symptoms of heart attack. People should never ignore the symptoms and immediately visit the cardiologist.

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