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Should people with heart problems avoid cold foods? Also, how do I avoid asthma?

Q: I am 24 years old man. I have a hole in my heart and one of the valves is defective since birth. I have consulted one of the heart specialists in Mumbai. I would like to know what all food & fruits should be taken by me and what should not be taken? As I have been advised not to eat fruits which are cold in nature by my parents like banana, pineapple, water melon. I get common cold & cough problem (jamming up my respiratory system) throughout the year. And sometimes this problem increases when I have tension. Is there any medication for completely removing the sneezing and common cold and cough problem? Can you tell me what precautions I should take to avoid asthma?

A:As far as medical science is concerned, there is no relationship of temperature of food to heart disease; nor are fruits like Banana, Pineapple, Water melon contraindicated in patients who have a hole in the heart or valve defects. The only thing I can imagine that could go wrong with water melon is that if you eat water melon in plenty, the water load may be excessive and in case your heart is in state of failure, then it can create problems but otherwise water melon has got no harmful effects on the heart. However, I would advise you to restrict your salt intake and to some extent water intake also. Your query regarding common cold & cough. Well I do not have all the medical details but in patients with hole in the heart, there is increased flow of blood through the lungs. They are therefore prone to respiratory problems and recurrent common cold and cough. In that respect, I would advise you to get in touch with your cardiologist and should definitely consider surgical option for closure of hole in the heart and repair of the valve if that is still possible. If there is any local problem in the nose in terms of polyp or deviated nasal septum which may be causing problem then that may be remedied by an ENT surgeon and therefore I would also advise you to consult an ENT surgeon. Your last query of precautions for not getting Asthma attacks - well one should avoid dust and pollution and specially during change of weather, one should be little cautious of not getting exposure to sudden cold or sudden change of temperature. Also one should try to find out any specific thing to which one is allergic, for example pollen grains and avoid that. I think a chest physician or a respiratory specialist may be able to help in this matter to identify your problem.

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