Cardiovascular diseases emerged as India’s top killer around the mid-1980s. Since the turn of the century, it is a growing threat. In 2012, one in four Indians who died, died of cardiovascular diseases, according to WHO data. It was one in five Indians in 2000. Growing numbers of young people are being afflicted. About 12 percent of those experiencing heart attacks in India are below 40, 15-20 percent increase in strokes in the 25 to 40 age group.
Major Heart Problems:
There are many types of heart diseases and their symptoms and treatment are totally different. Some can be controlled and cured by changing our lifestyle and eating habits, while some need medical treatment. Some of the major heart problems are:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart arrhythmias
- Heart failure
- Congenital heart disease
Symptoms of major heart diseases:
- Heart Arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats): Fluttering in your chest, racing heartbeat (tachycardia), slow heartbeat (bradycardia), chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting (syncope) or near fainting.
- Atherosclerotic Disease: Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina). Shortness of breath; pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed; pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (weak heart): Breathlessness with exertion or at rest; swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet; fatigue, irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering; dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
- Heart Infection: Fever, shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue, swelling in your legs or abdomen, changes in your heart rhythm, dry or a persistent cough, skin rashes or unusual spots.
Healthy heart = Healthy Lifestyle
Your heart’s health entirely depends on your lifestyle, the way you keep up and maintain your body.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Heart:
- Chest discomfort
- Indigestion, stomach ache, and burns on a regular basis
- Feeling dizzy and lightheaded always
- Jaw pain and throat pain
- Snoring and sweating too much
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen feet, hands, and legs
How do you Make Sure Your Heart is Healthy?
- Include physical activities in your routine
- Maintain your blood cholesterol and blood pressure
- Keep your diabetes in control
- Eat healthy food. Avoid oily and junk foods
- Consume nutritional food as much as you can
- Stay smoke-free
- If you consume alcohol, try and consume it in moderation
- Be stress-free
Diet for a Healthy Heart
Our food choices decide our health. Every time you consume a spoonful of the modern diet, you injure your arteries. Instead, one should take a balanced diet that helps us maintain a healthy weight, levels up the blood pressure, and lowers the cholesterol.
Major dietary modifications that can help us maintain a healthy heart:
- Fruits & vegetables – Eat fruits and green vegetables which are rich in fiber and nutrition.
- Portion control – This is very important in any food. Eating large portions of any food to fill your stomach leads to an increase in calories, fat, and cholesterol.
- Whole grain – Whole grains are rich in fiber and should be included in your everyday diet.
- Sodium reduction – Sodium leads to high blood pressure, which can cause heart deterioration.
Foods to Keep Your Heart Fit:
- Fish – Fish is high in Omega 3S. Consume salmon and tuna that are rich in Omega 3S.
- Nuts – Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are very healthy for the heart.
- Berries – Berries are rich in protein and fiber
- Flax seeds – Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid that keeps the heart healthy.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants and improves blood sugar.
- Dark beans – Dark beans are rich in vitamin B.
Changing one’s lifestyle can be challenging, but changing one’s habits can make a large difference in one’s everyday life. Lifestyle changes are an ongoing process that takes time. Incorporate these healthy habits and try your best to stay fit and healthy. Remember, a healthy lifestyle is a healthy heart!
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