World Health Day 2021: Keep Your Heart Healthy, Here's How
World Health Day is observed on 7 April each year. The theme for this year is building a fairer, healthier world for everyone. As the World Health Day is around the corner, read here to learn about the importance of a healthy heart.
World Health Day 2021: A healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep your heart healthy
- World health Day is observed on 7 April each year
- A healthy lifestyle promote better heart health
- Regular exercise can help keep several diseases at bay
World Health Day 2021: The heart is a vital organ of the body as it pumps blood throughout the entire circulation and maintains a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to all organs in the body. It is hard at work all through the day and beats about 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime. Several important functions of the body are affected and show a concurrent decline when the heart stops pumping as efficiently as it should.
The disease pattern in India is shifting from communicable to non-communicable disease (NCD) pattern. This transition has occurred rather quickly in consonance with rapid urbanisation. NCDs include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity. These are also called lifestyle diseases as they mainly occur due to the lifestyle or daily habits of a person. Lifestyle diseases are no longer considered exclusive to affluent countries as the low- and middle-income nations report most deaths from NCDs.
Heart diseases in India have some unique characteristics, which are a cause of concern. One is their escalating prevalence and it would perhaps not be incorrect to say that there is an epidemic of heart diseases in India. Another worrying aspect is that heart diseases in India are occurring at a much younger age, almost a decade earlier than their western counterparts. The prevalence of premature coronary artery disease in the younger age group is rising.
The major risk factors contributing to heart diseases and other NCDs include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity (pot-belly obesity in particular), high cholesterol, sedentary life, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet containing high amounts of saturated and trans fats, high salt and sugar), poor sleep hygiene and stress. In the young, smoking, dyslipidemia and high blood pressure are the major risk factors. These are modifiable risk factors and hence can be controlled.
Here are some tips to keep the heart healthy-
- Say no to tobacco
- Eat a variety of foods and eat in moderation
- Include all 7 colors and six tastes for a well-balanced diet
- Eat a heart-healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated/trans fats, refined white foods (white sugar, white flour and white rice), packaged and processed foods. Reduce salt in diet. Read food labels to know the sodium content. Limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg in a day (one teaspoon of salt).
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Remember, shorter the waist line, longer the life line
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes 5 days in a week
- Know your numbers: Every adult should know his or her blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level
- Manage stress through meditation and activities such as yoga
- Sleep well for st least 7-8 hours
- Practice mindful eating. Be aware of the hunger and satiety signals. Use all the five senses while eating: colors (eye), smells (nose), flavors (taste), textures (touch) and sound while chewing (ear) of the food.
- Take the 6-minute walk test (6MWT): If you can walk 500 meters in six minutes, you do not have significant underlying heart disease
- Remember the formula of 80: Maintain your lower BP, fasting sugar, LDL (bad cholesterol), heart rate and waist circumference below 80; walk 80 minutes a day; brisk walk 80 minutes a week; walk with a speed of at least 80 steps per minute.
This World Health Day, take a pledge to preserve your heart health!
(Dr. KK Aggarwal is President at Heart Care Foundation of India and CMAAO and is associated with IJCP Group and Medtalks)
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