Celebrate your heart

Celebrate your heart

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World over, lakhs of men and women die each year of heart diseases. Most of the problems are caused by factors like tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption, junk food intake, etc. Metrolife takes a deeper look at heart disease on the eve of World Heart Day

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There are various myths related to heart diseases. People tend to think that heart diseases are only meant for middle-aged and older men and not for youngsters or even women But this is not true. Fat can start accumulating in the arteries as early as 20s and even during teens, resulting clogging of arteries. Even school kids have been showing early signs of arterial diseases because of their inactive lifestyles.

Dr. Amar Singhal, Senior Consultant, Cardiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute says, one needs to strictly follow a healthy diet to keep heart problems away. “Following a healthy lifestyle includes a healthy diet, control over high blood pressure and cholesterol and regular health check-ups. It is a fact that Indians are predisposed to heart diseases for it is in our genes.” The worrisome trend is that youngsters are more at risk.

According to Singhal, youngsters are now more vulnerable because they are indulging in alcohol, smoking and drugs. On the other hand, men beyond 35 are more prone to heart ailments, as compared to women who face heart problems post 50 because their hormones protect them.

A healthy diet too is very important. Indians are famous for their love of all things greasy – especially ghee, butter, foods rich in calories which leads to high cholesterol levels. This increases the risk further. Dr Akshita Aggarwal, a clinical dietician blames animal fat for heart trouble. “We consume a large amount of animal fat which is the prime culprit. Less consumption of fibre - which helps in binding fat in the body, can also be unhealthy. So, one should check one’s fat intake.”

She further suggests, “One should go for double-toned milk, less ghee and butter. Binging is another factor that leads to major health risks. One should space out meals too. Eating every 3-4 hours in smaller proportions is far healthier as compared to having complete meals only thrice in a day.”

For those who feel the pangs often should follow a trick of carrying goodies with them, like high fibre biscuits, fruits and oats. One can also beat this lifestyle disease by following a strict exercise regime, says Kiran Sawhney, a fitness trainer.

“Youngsters should take stairs instead of riding the elevators and escalators or park their cars a few metres away from their office building, so that they can walk a bit. Nowadays, all of us lack exercise. Cardio-vascular exercises like aerobics, jogging, running and walking are great ways to make your heart fit.”

A normal heart beats 72 times per minute whereas it is nearly 45-50 beats in case of athletes. The lesser the number of heart beats, the healthy a heart is. “So, to increase stamina and endurance levels, one should take up more exercises which will strengthen it,” says Kiran.

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