As the world prepares to commemorate World Heart Day on September 29, the spotlight once again shines on the critical issue of cardiovascular diseases and their strong link to unhealthy lifestyles. To shed light on this crucial matter, Republic Digital engaged in a conversation with cardiologists Dr. Sreekanth B Shetty, Senior Consultant and Head of Interventional Cardiology, and Dr. V Rajasekhar, Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and electrophysiologist, Certified Specialist for TAVR. Here’s what they had to say regarding the alarming connection between unhealthy lifestyles and heart diseases.
Understanding Risk Factors:
First and foremost, understanding risk factors plays a pivotal role in preventing heart disease. Lifestyle choices, according to these experts, significantly influence your heart health outcomes. Dr. Sreekanth B Shetty emphasized, “An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to heart issues such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and more. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management is crucial for reducing these risks.”
Dr. Shetty went on to explain how several factors contribute to the increasing incidence of heart disease. High-fat diets, he noted, can cause heart disease and atherosclerosis. Excessive salt intake elevates blood pressure, posing a heart risk. Inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity, however, can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Dr. Shetty also highlighted the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, which harm the heart by raising blood pressure and reducing oxygen-carrying capacity.
Protecting Heart Health:
When it comes to habits and behaviors individuals should be aware of to protect their heart health, Dr. Shetty offered valuable advice: “To safeguard heart health, prioritize fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats; reduce saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium intake. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise, including strength and flexibility training. Quit smoking, as it harms the heart and blood vessels, and consume alcohol in moderation. Manage stress, undergo regular check-ups to monitor heart health, adhere to prescribed medications, maintain a healthy weight, get 7-9 hours of quality sleep, stay hydrated, and limit processed meat consumption.”
Warning Signs of a Deteriorating Heart:
Dr. V Rajasekhar shared insights into the warning signs of a deteriorating heart, including chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, leg and ankle swelling, persistent cough, sudden weight gain, and trouble sleeping due to breathing difficulties.
Practical Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle:
Dr. Rajasekhar provided practical tips for embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle, advising individuals to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while reducing saturated fats and added sugars. Regular exercise, smoking cessation, minimal alcohol consumption, stress reduction techniques, and adequate sleep were also highlighted as essential components of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Message on World Heart Day:
In closing, Dr. Rajasekhar emphasized, “On World Heart Day, it’s important to convey the message that cardiovascular health is a cornerstone of overall well-being. Prevention through a healthy lifestyle is key. Regular check-ups, understanding your risk factors, and making positive choices can significantly reduce the burden of heart disease on individuals and society.”
As World Heart Day approaches, let these expert insights serve as a timely reminder to prioritize heart health through lifestyle choices that promote longevity and well-being.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Republic TV