Heart health has assumed significance in the Covid era as there is a rising trend of sudden heart attacks and people aged around 50 are mostly the ones affected by it. Our heart is at the centre of our circulation system, pumping blood around our body as our heart beats. Any sign of heart trouble should be taken seriously as it is linked to your longevity, survival and wellbeing.
More people die from cardiovascular disease worldwide than from any other cause: over 18.6 million every year. Of these deaths, 85% are due to coronary heart diseases (e.g heart attacks) and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g. strokes) and mostly affect low- and middle-income countries.
On World Heart Day, Dr. Indranil Dutta, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Kolkata puts the spotlight on the importance of heart health and shares steps to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. More than four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and one-third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under 70 years of age, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Faulty lifestyle, unhealthy diet, heavy smoking, or cardiac history may contribute towards the rising heart troubles in young people.
How You Can Prevent Them
These changes to your daily habits lower your risk of heart disease:
Eat healthy: Your meals should be mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks.
Move more: Aim for 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity most days of the week. Think brisk walking, bicycling, and swimming.
Quit smoking: No matter how long you’ve been a smoker, you will still benefit from quitting.
Avoid secondhand smoke: Even if you don’t smoke, being around it can raise your risk of heart disease.
Watch your weight: If you’re overweight, even just a small amount of weight loss (like losing 5% of your body weight) can improve your blood pressure.
Manage stress: Stress can raise your blood pressure, so find ways to unwind. Exercising, meditation and getting enough sleep can help relieve tension. Or try taking 15 minutes of quiet time every day to relax. Leaning on friends and family for support and doing things you enjoy can also help you cope.
Limit your alcohol intake: Alcohol, although not prohibited for heart disease patients should be consumed carefully. As popularized without any verified facts, there is no reason to encourage alcohol consumption to lower heart risk for the Indian population.
Go for regular checkups: At least once a year, get a medical checkup to make sure you haven’t developed any conditions that would put you at risk for heart disease, and to make sure you are controlling any conditions you already have.
Keep tabs on your blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol: If you’re getting regular checkups, your doctor can help you track this, but you can also use a home blood pressure device or a blood pressure machine in a pharmacy. Your pharmacist can also check your blood pressure. If you have diabetes or cholesterol, make sure you’re closely watching your blood sugar & cholesterol levels, eating well, and exercising.
Don’t skip your medications: If you’re taking medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, take them as directed by your physician. If you’re having unpleasant side effects, don’t stop taking them. Instead, consult with your doctor immediately and ask about other options.
The healthcare crisis we’ve all been living through has highlighted an urgent need to find different and innovative ways to connect people to heart health, particularly in lower resource areas and communities.
The goal for Word Heart Day 2021 is to harness the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) globally. Telehealth has a huge role to play as we continue to USE HEART TO BEAT CVD.
Dr. Indranil Dutta says, “Every clinic consultation should be recorded and documented. I have been using the HealthPlix EMR since April 2021. With HealthPlix, record keeping has become easier than before. Writing prescriptions has also become more convenient than writing them manually.”
On how telehealth plays a role to beat such diseases, he adds, “Platforms like HealthPlix EMR are very powerful to extend care to remote areas. Due to timely record-keeping, a doctor has enough history about a patient on HealthPlix EMR and can help people who are in far-off locations. It is always better to consult with your treating physician who is aware of your case history and HealthPlix EMR enables that with its online consultations and telehealth features. Although online consultations are not a replacement to offline consultations but very helpful to extend immediate care to those in need.”
This World Heart Day, connect with your hearts, make sure you’re nurturing them as best you can, and not neglecting the heart that beats for you.