Heart diseases are now a leading cause of death among Indians

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September 29, 2019 12:26 AM

Another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found that women are up to three times more likely to die following a serious heart attack than men as a result of receiving unequal care and treatment.

Gardening, shopping, meditation, drawing, dancing or getting together with friends are some things that appeal to people from different age groups.

Did you know cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death in the world today? According to the World Health Organisation, cvds take the lives of 17.7 million people every year, making for 31% of all global deaths in a year. Triggering these diseases—which manifest primarily as heart attacks and strokes—are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the access of alcohol. These in turn, show up in people as heightened blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, overweight and obesity—risks detrimental to heart’s well being. It is important for individuals to take care of themselves, to look after their heart, and eat healthy foods while maintaining optimum levels of activity.

Indians are at a higher risk of heart diseases owing to their genetic make-up, lack of physical activity, poor dietary regimes, high consumption of sugar, salt, and increased intake of saturated and/or trans fats. A couple of changes to your lifestyle, as suggested by experts, can help diminish the danger of a stroke.

Diet check: Enrich your daily diet with fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meat, and fish, while limiting consumption of animal fat, sugar and salt. Include healthy foods like almonds, fruits or oats and avoid unhealthy snacking. For instance, consuming almonds everyday have multiple nutritional benefits. Consuming 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28 grams, or about 23 almonds) has 13 grams of unsaturated fat and 1 gram of saturated fat. Madhuri Ruia, pilates expert and diet and nutrition consultant says, “Taking stock of one’s cholesterol levels and making an active effort to balance it, is a vital step in building overall heart health. Reduce your intake of highly saturated fats and instead replace them with foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats like almonds, full fat yogurt or fruits.”

Walk and exercise: Physical fitness is important for a healthy lifestyle. Walking, jogging, swimming or practicising yoga is advisable. Walking for 30 minutes everyday helps accelerate the heart rate and breathing.

Monitor stress levels: Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. Keep your stress under control. One way to do that is by taking out time for yourself to do things that make you happy. Gardening, shopping, meditation, drawing, dancing or getting together with friends are some things that appeal to people from different age groups.

No smoking: According to the World Heart Federation, smoking is estimated to cause nearly 10 % of CVD and is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure. Smoking can increase the risk of heart disease among people as the chemicals in a cigarette damage the lining of heart’s blood vessels which in turn leads to inflammation and narrowing, that can cause a heart attack.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found that women are up to three times more likely to die following a serious heart attack than men as a result of receiving unequal care and treatment. “In the Indian society, women face what is sometimes referred to as the ‘dual work’ stress—the twin burden of home and workplace. Women need to understand that the stress caused by little control and excessive demands is not just restricted to the workplace. They juggle a lot of concurrent jobs, like caring for aging parents and children while working outside and sharing greater responsibility in running the household,” says H P Bharathi, deputy chief medical officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute. “Apart from promoting greater sharing of household chores between spouses, it is also important to educate women about taking requisite preventive measures and adopting naturopathy practices that can mitigate their risk of a heart disease. Thus, it is very important for them to fight off stress on a daily basis by adopting practices such as deep breathing, meditation, walking and cycling in a green space and indulging in relaxation-inducing hobbies like gardening or painting. Adopting mindfulness in every activity also helps keep the mind away from anxiousness about the future,” Bharathi adds.

Experts agree that a series of factors have an adverse impact on timely diagnosis of heart disease and its risk in women. While the incidence of heart disease increases in both men and women, there is more gender-specific approach to diagnosis and treatment, rather than the currently practiced unisex approach. “Increasing incidence of diabetes and hypertension, unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity are all factors that increase the risk of a heart disease. Doctors adopt a more gender-specific approach to the treatment of disease,” says Savitha Kuttan, CEO, Omnicuris, a social healthcare enterprise.

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