By Dr. Ravi Gaur,
Across the globe, heart disease, heart attack & stroke is the leading cause of death. India is not far behind. The numbers are scary, but one can do a lot to take care of heart and it’s never too late to start. We have only one heart, so it is a must to take care of our heart before it falls apart. As they say, ‘Best Heart Care Plan is a Self-Care Plan’ Let us all make attempts to defeat heart disease and keep a healthy heartbeat.
Certain risk factors, such as genetics, age & gender cannot be controlled. Still, many other risk factors can be controlled or modified. Preventing heart disease and stroke requires making sound decisions that will pay off in the long run. Here are 6 important things you can adopt in your lifestyle for heart disease and stroke prevention.
● Get Heart Health Risk Assessment done and become aware of your risk:
Many factors, such as smoking, family history, associated kidney & liver disease can increase your risk. Many of these risk factors can be improved with lifestyle changes. Knowing your risk factors can help you to decide on the best heart care plan.
● Reduce Stress and Limit Alcohol Consumption:
Excessive alcohol consumption increases blood pressure. Needless to mention the additional calories which induce weight gain — all of these increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Chronic stress can set off a chain reaction in your body. When you’re stressed all of the time, your blood pressure might be higher and that can put you at a greater risk again. If you find yourself stressed out a lot, explore activities that can help you relax. Also remember, to reduce stress not by drinking alcohol but by avoiding alcohol.
● Eat healthy diet
Plan your eating around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, and fish. Make smart choices like limiting refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and sweetened drinks. Try cutting back on sodium, added sugars, saturated fats, and avoiding trans-fat.
● Be physically active
Walk, exercise, and move more – it’s one of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease, and age well. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. If you’re already active, you can increase your intensity for even more benefits. If you’re not active now, get started by simply sitting less and moving more. Exercise also keeps your weight in check. You can also check your Body Mass Index (BMI) and adopt a weight loss plan, if need be.
● Get regular Health Screenings
Consult your family doctor to get different medical tests to help find out the status of your heart condition. Blood tests for cholesterol LDL, Lipoproteins, CRP, liver enzymes, sugar helps to assess an early risk. Electrocardiogram (ECG), exercise stress test and Echocardiogram (ultrasound), blood pressure check, etc are a few of the other tests which help in understanding the health of heart.
● Sleep well
Not getting enough sleep (at least seven hours) could lead to higher blood pressure. And if you’re up against insomnia, that can also lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try getting on a regular bedtime schedule and make sure you’re doing some physical activity during the day. Avoid working out, eating foods that are high in fat and sugar, or drinking alcohol before bed. Having a good night’s sleep helps!
By following a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, getting routine screenings, and having a better lifestyle, you can tap into the best preventive care for your heart. Have a healthy heart, don’t delay or you might live in dismay!
(The author is Founder & Director DRG Path labs. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)