World Heart Day

World Heart Day

World Heart Day. Many believe heart attack can occur only among old folks. In reality, heart disease can start off at an early age and that is why there is a growing number of people have heart attack in their early 30.

Many believe heart attack can occur only among old folks. In reality, heart disease can start off at an early age and that is why there is a growing number of people have heart attack in their early 30.

The heart is the size of one’s fist, and it’s one of the strongest muscles in the body. It starts beating even before the birth of a baby, and by the age of 70, an average heart will have beat two and a half billion times. With every heartbeat, blood is pumped all over the body.

The medical term for heart disease is cardiovascular disease, which refers to any disease that may affect the cardiovascular system. There are various causes of these diseases, but hypertension is the most common one. Also, one has to factor in on various physiological and morphological changes that have an effect on the cardiovascular function, leading to greater chances of heart diseases, even in individuals deemed healthy by the doctor. Other types of heart problems involve the valves in the heart, or the fact that the heart is not able to pump enough blood, causing heart failure. Some heart diseases are genetic, while some are born with it.

Today, India holds the title of being the world’s #1 country in coronary diseases. Despite this, there is little the government is doing in terms of setting up public health strategies to change the lifestyles of Indians, to curb the increasing rates of people suffering from heart problems. Unlike clinics for tuberculosis and programs like the Malaria Control Program, there is nothing of the sort in India. Gone are the days when heart diseases were considered to be an emerging problem – today it’s emerged as the biggest cause of deaths in India.

Sr.Consultant Cardiologist Dr.Narsimhan of Care hospital gives us some tips to “heart care”.

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are a few tips to a healthy heart:

Don't smoke or use tobacco:

Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Eat a heart-healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.Limiting certain fats you eat also is important.Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease.

We've all seen the way a heart attack is depicted in the movies — with a lot of chest-clutching and popping eyes, followed by a person dropping motionless to the ground. However, not all heart attacks are like that, especially when it comes to heart disease in women. In real life, the signs of a heart attack in women can differ significantly from the stereotypical heart attack.

Dr.Anand Agarwal cardiac surgeon at Narayan Hrudayalaya

Says that women are more prone to heart disease of late and one of the causes is depression.

It is commonly thought that young women are not to be at risk for heart attacks, but a recent study indicated that heart attacks could be deadliest for young women.

It was found that women had longer length of stay and higher in-hospital mortality than men across all age groups. Between 2 and 3 percent of young women aged between 30 and 54 who were hospitalized for a heart attack died over the years from 2001 to 2010, comparing to 1.7 percent to 2 percent of men the same age. The findings were published in ‘Journal of Medicine of Apollo Hospitals”

Young women often ignore symptoms, ranging from chest pain and shortness of breath to fatigue and nausea that could suggest a heart attack. While the medical community has focused on educating more women on heart disease, it has not yet customized its message for young women. All of these things could simply lead to a delay in recognizing symptoms, a delayed diagnosis, and a delay in treatment strategies.

Depression is as powerful a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking, says Dr.Anand Agarwal. When women get depressed, they stop taking care of themselves. And when they stop taking care of themselves, they get sick.

Another idea revolves around hormonal differences in women, which can cause more small-vessel narrowing and could contribute to different symptoms.

World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. 2014’s theme is creating heart-healthy environments.

Everyone should be able to make heart choices not hard choices wherever they live, work and play

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