How to Prevent Heart Disease With a Few Simple Steps

In today’s era, the number of families with heart disease, like hypertension and increasing lipids, are increasing at a very fast pace.

We Asians are genetically prone to develop heart diseases, and along with that, sedentary lifestyle, bad food habits, stress, etc., can add to the problem. The time has come to wake up and do something to prevent future generations from having this problem. We need to do something drastic to make this happen. Following are some easy tips to prevent heart disease.

Q1: What is the role of exercise in preventing heart disease?

It is said that you can “Walk your way to health.”

Walking is a very good and effective exercise, and it can be done by anybody and at age. This burns calories.

walking3A. How much walking is ideal?
Try to walk at least 6 days in a week, and about 150 minutes total, each week. Use the stairs at your workplace or home for at least couple of floors.

B. What other forms of physical activity can help?
Apart from walking, good options include sports, swimming, regular work-outs, etc. In the presence of any disease, this should only be done after consulting your doctor.

Kids must be encouraged to play outdoor sports, which is rapidly declining due to the lack of space and the availability of video games, the internet, etc., which makes them sit for hours, together with munching and avoiding physical activity.

Q2: What is role of Diet?

Heart-HealthDiet plays a vital role in the prevention of heart disease. We all are addicted to junk food and cold drinks. Please avoid them, as they contain only empty calories and are very poor in nutrition.
Our oil consumption is also very high.

A. How much oil consumption is ideal?
Ideally one should consume up to about 10 kg of oil per year. To simplify, a couple needs one tin of 20kg/year.

B. How can you reduce the oil intake in your diet?
Try to eat baked goods, and cook in a vessel which needs less oil for cooking. Potato chips, popcorns, and cold drinks contain very high calories and are very dangerous, so they must be avoided.

C. How should you plan your daily diet?
One should have plenty of fruits and salads in the diet to have good nutrition and have the elements which can help to fight against heart disease. Plan your diet well, and avoid taking fried snacks in between meals, and then skipping meals. You must have a proper eating schedule, however busy you may be. Late night meals and partying must be avoided. Food taken very late cannot be digested properly and can lead to a host of problems.

Q3: What is the role in addiction in increasing the risk?

In the name of beating stress, our young generation is getting addicted to smoking, tobacco chewing, and alcohol. All of this leads to an increase in cholesterol in the body, which leads to more development of fat deposition in the arteries and invites heart disease at a very young age. The age at which people develop heart disease is falling fast, and we are seeing more and more deaths due to this, also.

Q4: What is the role of stress in the development of heart disease?

Stress is again a very important factor in the development of heart disease. Nuclear families, long job hours, cut-throat competition, and rising living costs are the main reasons for the development of stress.

Stress leads to hypertension and bad habits. This, in turn, leads to development of heart disease.

A. How can you avoid stress?

One needs to socialize and keep ambitions under control. Employers should ensure a good, peaceful work environment and healthy atmosphere at work. Regular stress-relieving techniques like yoga, meditation, etc., can definitely help.

Q5: Why is obesity important?Obesity

With time, the average waist size is increasing, and obesity has become a problem at every age. Even childhood obesity is a big concern, today. Lack of physical activity and ignorance of parents about their food has made childhood obesity into a very big problem.

At any age, physical activity must be encouraged, along with proper diet planning.

Q6: What is the role of health check-ups in preventing heart disease?

After a certain age, normally about 40 years old, regular health check-ups are a must. This age could be lower in the presence of diseases in the family.

Prevention is always better than cure, so any ailment which can be detected in time can be effectively treated, and the onset of disease can be prevented.

Even after disease has developed, regular check-ups prevent complications and improve the quality of life. Family members who have a relative with any disease – like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc. – need to be extra careful.

Putting all of the above together will help one to live a longer and healthier life and enjoy the gift of god.

Vachharajani Dr. Vachharajani is an experienced practicing family physician in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with a special interest in obesity and lifestyle-related disorders. With a genuine passion and enthusiasm for healthcare information technology (HIT), he has championed the cause of using HIT in day-to-day clinical practice. In addition to his, MBBS, he holds a post-graduate certificate in environmental and occupational health (PGDMCH).
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