May 31, 2022. A melodious evening in the City of Joy. Seemingly healthy, Krishnakumar Kunnath (KK) had fans singing along at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium. He had complained of some uneasiness during the performance but had continued the show.
No one knew then that this would be his last concert. KK succumbed to a cardiac arrest. He was taken to the CMRI hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 53.
The loss has once again raised the alarm over rising cases of heart or cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) among young Indian people. Also concerning is the fact that the average age of developing CVDs in India is a decade younger than compared to Western countries, and is one of the most common reasons for mortality among men aged 35-54.
Heart Diseases are not attributable to a single cause as they are multifactorial in nature.
Let's be honest, the world is witnessing alarming rates of lifestyle-related health conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, and we are currently the victims of environmental hazards. Good news is, an occasional cheese burst pizza or butter chicken is not going to trigger a cardiac issue. Bad news is, if it becomes a habit, the ill effects are going to show up as deposits or plaques in your arteries. These deposits result in the narrowing of the arteries that eventually raise the blood pressure, and lead to cardiovascular diseases.
So, what's the solution? The answer is quite simple yet most of us neglect it - Lead a Healthy Lifestyle!
8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Heart Diseases
1. Know your risk
Doctors are shocked at the rising incidence of young people developing heart problems in the India. If you’re between 40 and 75 years old and have never had a heart attack or stroke. Certain factors can increase your risks, such as smoking, kidney disease or a family history of early heart disease. Stress is the most important & most investigated modifiable risk factor. Knowing your risk factors can help you and your health care team can decide on the best treatment plan for you. Many risk factors can be improved with lifestyle changes.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Remember, not eating or eating less, skipping meals, and continuous Fasting Never helps. We get so many conflicting messages about what foods are best for us. We know that certain things are perhaps dangerous for our hearts, but maybe we don't know to what extent. Center your eating plan around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, and fish. Make smart choices like limiting refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and sweetened drinks. Use the nutrition facts label on packaged foods to cut back on sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats, and avoid trans fat, Meal Planning Can Help
3. Be physically active
Going for a walk every day, workout in a gym, or playing a regular sport doesn’t mean ….That’s It……The activity must be tailored according to one’s diet, work & weight scenarios. Move more – it’s one of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease and age well. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. If you’re already active, you can increase your intensity for even more benefits. If you’re not active now, get started by simply sitting less and moving more. Sitting is the ‘New Smoking’
4. Watch your weight
If you are working out, or exercising, you still haven’t reduced, which means your activity or diet is not in line with what you have aimed at. Start rethinking, devise your workout plans, modify your diet schedule/regime or whatever it takes to reduce your belly. Stay at a healthy weight for you. Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Start by eating fewer calories and moving more. You can check and recheck your body mass index (BMI) regularly.
5. Live tobacco/Alcohol-Free
The Biden administration wants to slash nicotine levels in all cigarettes sold in the US. This’s addiction helplessness. If you don’t smoke, vape or use tobacco products, don’t ever start. There’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product. If quitting smoking or tobacco is a challenge for you, ask your team for help to kick the habit using proven methods. Don’t just swap one tobacco source for another. And try to avoid secondhand smoke, too i.e e-cigars, NRT.
6. Manage conditions
If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes or other conditions that put you at greater risk, it’s very important to work with your health care team and make lifestyle changes. Get annual screening on your co morbid conditions.
7. Take your medicine
If you have a health condition, your doctor may prescribe statins or other medications to help control cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Consult your doctor for assesment of your condition and to taper or increase the dosages of the medications you are consuming.
8. Be a team player
Your health care team can help you reduce your risk of heart disease to live a longer, healthier life. Work together on your prevention plan time to time. Ask questions, and be open about any challenges you may face in trying to make healthy changes.
The bottom line?
Live well today for a healthier tomorrow.
Like the legend said, "Choti si hai Zindagi, Kal mil Jaye toh hogi khushnaseebi", let's do everything we can to make this Choti si Zindagi healthful.
(Author is Senior Consultant Cardio Vascular & Thoracic Surgery, Noora Hospital Srinagar)