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Matters of the Heart Do Matter

4 June, 2018

Heart Disease
, cardio

There are some alarming statistics from WHO, that suggest that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is now occurring more in India and China than all other economically developed countries put together. So, the matters of the heart are indeed something vital that we need to take care of. It is a natural assumption that, with old age, many physical and psychological issues come into play. 

Graceful ageing and a kind and dignified living can be had, if we are careful about certain things, like our fitness and diet. At the least, it needs to be understood, that not all the ageing population will get diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. A lot of all this depends on the person, the physique, the way the body has been taken care of, the diet, the family history, etc. Here we take a look at what all can be done to have a healthy heart as we age.

The causes

Heart disease is linked to many factors like lack of exercise, smoking, drinking, unhealthy diet, stress, obesity, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Each of these causes can lead to your having heart issues if the issue is not attended to. For example, if you have diabetes, it is essential to ensure diabetes management along with your doctor, to avoid other complications, including cardiovascular issues. A few other chronic diseases too fall under the same category.

Exercise – As we age, the body’s ability to pump blood into the heart goes down. Hence, it is important to keep this going through a regular exercise regime. Exercise, can in fact, also help to control a few other factors that affect the heart like weight issues, stress etc.

Healthy, balanced diet – It is crucial to avoid transfats and also limit saturated fats, refined sugar as well as salt. Certain foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, etc. are good for the heart. Even Omega 3 fatty acids are said to be very good for your heart and also help in lowering blood pressure. So eating fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout, sardines, and tuna can help prevent and control heart diseases.

Smoking – It is a well known and accepted fact that smoking is injurious to health, especially the heart health as well as the lungs. Smoking causes atherosclerosis, which causes plaque in the arteries, restricting blood flow, to the heart as well as other organs. This can lead to heart attacks or stroke. If you don’t smoke, you have one thing less to worry about, but if you are, it is time to start thinking about giving it up. It is tough, but not impossible. There are many substitutes available nowadays that can help with this. You may check with your doctor and do the needful.

Obesity – Being overweight is another cause of heart issues. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for avoiding heart-related diseases. The idea is to keep eating healthy, and exercising regularly to avoid being overweight or obese. If, however, you are already overweight, perhaps you should consult a doctor and dietician and start some weight loss regime.

Apart from this, avoid stress, which in turn can lead to hypertension, which is another reason for heart issues. 

Precautions

Regular checkups to monitor all sorts of health-related numbers like blood sugar levels, cholesterol, weight, hypertension, etc. are a must to monitor our health. These regular checks can to a great extent help in preventive screening, as the doctor may order further tests if he or she suspects anything. 

Signs to watch out for

One of the issues with ageing is that we tend to ignore certain things that our body tells us, as we think it is due to our age and expected. However, this is not the case, and you need to watch out for certain signs as given below.

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Dizziness

If any of these signs constantly occur, either alone or in a combination, please consult a doctor immediately. There are many cases where the patient reached the doctor just in time to discover a heart block and has been saved.

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