The sudden tragic demise of actor Sidharth Shukla (40) from a heart attack has opened up a conversation about premature heart disease. Fast-paced life, stress, and our diet contribute to declining health among youngsters. This holds especially true for heart health. Heart ailments ultimately leading to heart attacks, commonly known as old man's disease, can also strike at an early age. Nowadays, youngsters are falling prey to many heart conditions. Here, we explain to you about premature heart disease and tips to keep your heart healthy.
Heart disease is a number one killer worldwide, and the death toll continues to rise amid the pandemic. Did you know? Many heart attacks occur before the age of 45, and most of these strike men. Atherosclerosis is a disease wherein the plaque builds up inside the arteries can also crop up during your early years. Silent, undetected disorders of the heart's pumping rhythm lead to higher morbidity and mortality rates with structurally normal hearts. Thus, premature heart disease cases are rising globally.
Now, not only senior citizens but also younger people belonging to the age group of 35-50 encounter various heart problems. Physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can invite premature heart problems. Even genetics is an important contributor to premature heart disease. Men and women should not neglect the warning symptoms just because they are "too young" to suffer from heart disease. And since atherosclerosis can tend to start in youth, it's a reminder that one should start to make health-conscious changes early in life before one's condition worsens.
Follow these heart-friendly tips
People with a family history of premature heart disease need to embrace healthy lifestyles, as poor behaviours lead to heart disease. That means it is the need of the hour to bring your numbers down, keep blood sugar levels in the normal range, and stay healthy. Other healthy habits that one should adopt are as follows:
Quit smoking: Giving up smoking is one of the best things you need to apply for your healthy heart, as it's one of the main causes of heart disease. After a year of quitting smoking, the risk factor of heart disease falls to half compared to that of a regular smoker.
Increase physical activity and maintain your weight: Staying physically fit and actively reduces the risk of heart ailments. The same can help you keep stress free both mentally and physically. Cycling, jogging, aerobics, and other physical exercises will act as a key to keep you fit and maintain your weight.
Include fibre in your diet: Eating foods loaded with fibre will help you keep your heart healthy. Opt for oats, cereals, potatoes (with their skin), fruits, and vegetables which contain the maximum amount of fibre.
Go fat-free: Eating foods that contain a high amount of saturated fats can lead to an increase in the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases the risk of heart ailments and chances of heart attacks.
Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol has a lot of calories that may harm your heart. Hence, drinking more amount of alcohol regularly will affect your waistline leading to heart ailments.
Cut down on salt: Adding more salt to food while cooking can lead to the risk of high blood pressure. Hence, to maintain healthy blood pressure, lower your daily salt intake. Check out the labels of ready-made foods which contain a high amount of salt. Adults should consume less than one teaspoon of salt daily.
(The writer is a Cardiovascular Surgeon at Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Lilavati hospital)
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