Here are some tips to make sure your heart stays healthy…always

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the last Sunday of September (September 26, 2010) as World Heart Day to create awareness about cardiac disease and encourage preventive cardiology.

Demystifying myths

‘Heart attacks for the young? Preposterous! That's an old person's disease'. This is a common misconception among parents and youth alike. Youngsters often tend to believe they are invincible. Unfortunately, recent studies prove otherwise.

Consumption of junk food packed with saturated fat is the leading cause of obesity, which leads to heart disease in urban youth. However, studies show that 20 per cenof adolescents with ideal body weight are also susceptible to cardiac disease if they pursue unhealthy lifestyles. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining; 80 per cent of heart attacks are preventable. Adopt these simple steps to maintain good cardiac health:

Balanced Diet: Cover all food groups but in moderation. Incorporate whole grains, fruit such as apples, tomatoes, almonds, oats and fish and other protein-rich, high-fibre foods in the diet.

Stay active: A sedentary lifestyle means health problems. If possible, take the stairs not the lift, walk or bicycle to travel short distances. Do yoga or play your favourite sport at least once a week.

Relaxation: Since students and professionals are under stress, it is essential to find a technique to unwind. Yoga, meditation or a hobby will help calm nerves.

Annual check-up: Regular check ups are crucial to prevent serious cardiovascular disease.

While this may seem repetitive and boring, the repercussions of poor lifestyle choices are glaringly obvious. It is critical to promote awareness on the issue as it could save lives.

The flourishing IT industry, with its pledge of a brighter tomorrow, has appealed to the average Indian. This has led to long working hours and night shifts and increasing consumption of junk food, which has taken its toll on the health of Indians.

Youngsters should realise that their hard work today will not benefit them tomorrow if they don't take care of their health especially their heart. After all what we need is a ‘good heart' in every sense.

Risk factors

Obesity

Imbalanced Diet

Vitamin D deficiency

High stress levels

Lack of Exercise

Smoking/Increased consumption of alcohol

Ethnicity/ Genetic predisposition to Hypertension, Cholesterol and Diabetes

Dr. K. Chandrasekharan, is with the Fortis Malar Hospital.