- Heart is an important organ of the human body
- Heart failure risk can be reduced with healthy diet and lifestyle
- Do not ignore the signs of heart diseases
World Heart Day is used as an opportunity to create awareness about different conditions that can affect your heart. On the occasion of World Heart Day, this article focuses on heart failure which is the leading cause of mortality and repeat hospitalisation amongst all cardiovascular diseases. Over the years, India has noticed a drastic increase in the prevalence of heart failure amongst people in the younger age group of 45-50 years and below. Medical experts have time and again emphasised on how heart failure not only impacts the productive years of life, but also puts additional socio-economic burden on patients and their families. The associated death rates of heart failure are comparable to cancer, with 1 of 3 heart failure patients dying within 1 year of diagnosis, during their productive life years.
World Heart Day 2020: Know about heart failure
What is heart failure?
Heart failure cases are on a constant rise in India. It's a progressive and chronic condition, in which the heart muscle becomes stiff overtime and the heart is unable to circulate blood properly, thereby limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients circulated to the vital organs of the body.
Key reason behind the rising incidences in youth
Sedentary lifestyle, rising stress levels and higher consumption of salt, sugar, fat in the diet combined with exposure to air pollution is taking more and more youngsters in India under the grip of heart diseases. According to the International Congestive Heart Failure study, the mean age of heart failure patients in India is 59 years, which is approximately 10 years younger than patients from western countries.
Majority of heart failure patients get diagnosed suddenly, at the time of their first hospitalization. This clearly reflects the lack of awareness and ignorance about the symptoms of heart failure.
Here are some tips for heart failure patients to stay healthy:
1. Reduce salt intake- The sodium leads to water retention in the body which worsens the fluid build-up linked with heart failure. Hence, it is critical to lessen the salt to manage the symptoms of heart failure. With more fluids in the body, the heart struggles more to pump properly.
2. Say NO! to smoke and alcohol- It's a known fact that alcohol and smoking can severely damage heart. Past studies have shown that a significant number of heart ailments are linked with smoking. Similarly, alcohol consumption leads to high blood pressure. Therefore, patients with heart failure are strictly advised to stop smoking and alcohol consumption.
3. Do moderate exercise and walking- While in such stressful busy work schedule and with sedentary lifestyle, it is imperative to do 20-30 minutes of light physical activity as a part of your daily routine. Brisk walking or running strengthens the heart muscle and helps regulate the blood flow. This will not only help to keep your body weight in check, but also control blood pressure. Although, heart failure patient must always consult their doctor before initiating any form of exercise.
4. Maintain a healthy diet- Keeping a proper control on your eating habits is compulsory for heart failure patient. They are required to include more vegetable in their diet, refrain themselves from red meat and limit their consumption on sugary drinks and soda.
(Dr. Gaurav Khandelwal is a Cardiologist, AIIMS, Bhopal)
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