“Art of Winning Heart” 2021
Recently COVID has claimed nearly 5 million deaths worldwide which is a huge loss to the mankind. But every year cardiovascular mortality is significant in number and is more than 4 times this. It is true that we should take proper protection against COVID but haven’t we become oblivious about the cardiovascular disease prevention?
Every year we celebrate this special day on “world heart day”. We spend good amount of money on campaigning about heart protection. We talk a lot about heart disease prevention on this day, only to forget and resume old bad habits of smoking, junk food, etc in few days later. These special days and programs are for incorporating good habits into our life rather than merry making for a day or two.
Heart diseases are world’s leading cause of death in the past and this is predicted to increase in future especially in our subcontinent. Cigarette consumption is increasing in amount in the developing worlds. According to World Heart Federation, South Asia has several times higher prevalence of heart disease death and smoking is the major culprit.
Smoking causes constriction of blood vessels and increases the chance of stroke and heart attack. The toxins in the smoke and carbon mono-oxide increases BP and heart rate and damages our blood vessels. This is one of the reasons for heart attacks in young people. Good part of smoking habit is that the heart condition comes to near normal within 1-2 years of quitting it.
Other risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure (>140/90), high blood cholesterol level, diabetes, poor functional status, improper food habit and excess junk food.
Prevalence of high blood pressure is 20-40% in different parts of our country. It has direct relation with physical inactivity, high salt intake and heredity. Taboo in its treatment is the psyche of “habit forming fear” of medicines. Poor compliance is one of the major issues.
Diabetes is designated as heart disease equivalent. Diabetic patient should regularly consult cardiologist for heart check-up. Everybody should keep an ECG record on their phone for future comparison.
Regular exercise is the panacea for all heart diseases. Walking one hour a day keeps doctor away. It makes our heart and all vessels of our body clean and healthy.
We are what we eat. We can’t expect to be healthy eating junk food. Homemade foods are the best food for heart. Obesity appears to be an important risk factor for adverse COVID-19 outcomes. While on the other hand the pandemic is itself worsening obesity levels. It is imperative that medical systems worldwide meet this challenge by up scaling investments in obesity prevention and treatment.
So the obesity appear to be important risk factors to be controlled both for cardiovascular death as well as COVID death.
Obesity is considered to be the store house of all diseases. We need to take timely action for its prevention. Avoidance of sugary items proper physical exercises and proper diet counseling is the key.
COVID has taught us to maintain distance so we avoid socializing as well as gatherings.
This has compromised many aspects of medical therapeutics. At this time of pandemic, the online consultations and zoom conferences have emerged as a boon to medical society We should make maximum utilization of it in a proper way, understanding its pro and cons. Most of the medical professionals are showing their willingness to deliver the service. We should use all the available means to conquer the cardiovascular disease.
Understanding and incorporating all these boons into our life is an art. And this way you can make your and your beloved one's heart win the game of life.
Stay safe Stay healthy.
(Dr.RajBhandari is a senior Consultant Cardiologist and Head of Department, Cardiologist)