How to Prevent Heart Disease - The Reasons Behind Heart Conditions

Causes of Heart disease and heart conditions and ways to prevent heart conditions from early childhood.
Let us start this discussion with some data - heart diseases cause 25-30% of deaths in most industrialized countries. One might say that this is a very alarming information to throw at the start of an essay but the intention is to set off the alarm so that it wakes you up from your sedated and unhealthy slumber of inactivity.

Since you are now awake and reading this article with your eyes wide open, let it be known that only reading this article won’t help you if you do not think and take necessary actions to correct what is wrong.

This is not a Bible but a small article where I shall try to put forward some relevant information about this very dangerous aliment of the modern society.

How does Heart Disease present itself in its most common form?

The patient feels a constricting type of pain as if a very heavy load has been placed over his or her chest or as if someone is squeezing the chest with inhuman force. In the early stages heart pain is called angina and can be relieved by antianginal drugs like nitroglyceride.

Are you at risk of developing a heart disease? What are its causes and risk factors?

There are broadly two types of risk factors -

1. Non-modifiable - Like age, sex, family history, genetic factors. For example, the risk for developing heart disease increases with age, or, men are more prone to developing heart diseases than women. Family history and genetic factors are also responsible.

2. Modifiable - These are smoking, faulty dietary habits, sedentary life style, obesity, stress, diabetes etc.

Smoking - It is a common misbelieve that smoking causes dangerous effects only on the lungs, but the fact is that it is equally dangerous to the heart. My teacher used to smoke a lot. When he started developing chest pain, I told him to quit smoking but he used to simply deny and say smoking affects the lungs and not the heart. When angiography was done major blood vessels were already found to be blocked. Smoking affects the heart by destroying the vessels which supplies blood to the heart. The heart becomes devoid of blood supply and the heart cells start to die.

Faulty Dietary Habits - I have to say that all those fast food counters should be shut down for the benefit of our people - pizzas, cakes, pastries, noodles and all other fried and oily food are the real culprits. They make our taste buds jump with pleasure alright, but at the cost of our health. Junk and oily food increases the cholesterol level in the blood, causes obesity which in turn causes laziness, and above all these cholesterol crystals block the blood vessels and cause heart disease. Obesity is the direct result of bad dietary habits.

 Sedentary Life Style - People who tend to keep themselves fixed to their chairs for the most part of the day have the greatest risk of becoming obese and developing heart disease.

What can we do to prevent heart problems?

Grooming of Children - Prevention of heart diseases should start right from early childhood. Efforts should be directed towards discouraging children from adopting harmful life style because many adult health problems like obesity have their early origins in childhood. An alarming trend has been noticed among children in the past two decades. TV and video games have made them into couch potatoes or sand bags. Today’s children are the fattest in history and recent studies have shown that heart diseases have started to set in at very early ages.

Regular Exercising - Mild regular exercising in the form of brisk walking or calisthenics, aerobics or yoga helps a lot.

brisk walking

Dietary Changes - An increase in intake of vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes and decrease in consumption of fatty food, fast foods, very limited or no drinking and no smoking is the order of the day. Daily salt intake should be limited to 5 grams or less.

Fish contains good cholesterol which is good for the heart. Fish can be a very good supplement for meat.

QUIT SMOKING - Please note that it is a misconception that filtered cigarettes are less harmful. They actually are equally as bad as any other form of tobacco. Heavy drinking is also a strict ‘no no‘ for those who want to keep their heart healthy.

Each measure that you take, each step that you move towards leading a healthy lifestyle will be a step away from the risk that you might develop a heart disease. Genetic and hereditary reasons will be there but we cannot control them. So let us do what is in our hands. Let us make our society healthier than today.

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