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10 tips to prevent heart disease and stroke

September 24, 2015 11:59 IST
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Dr Manoj Kumar, Associate Director & Head, Cardiac Cath Lab, Max Balaji Super Specialty Hospital, Patparganj, New Delhi, gives practical tips to prevent heart diseases and strokes.

Photograph: Ramon Rosati/Creative Commons

1. Control of blood pressure below 140/90

2. Control of blood sugar

3. Control of cholesterol level where bad cholesterol or low density cholesterol should be less 100 milligram per decilitre

4. Moderate physical activity: brisk walk for 30 to 45 minutes, at least five days a week or walk 10,000 steps everyday.

5. Quit smoking RIGHT NOW.

6. Maintain your ideal body weight, which means the body mass index or the BMI should be less than 30.

7. Abstinence from alcohol or moderate consumption of alcohol; MAXIMUM of 30 to 45 ml of whiskey per day can be consumed. This limit is for those who are already alcohol drinkers.

But if you don’t drink then please do not start if you want to keep coronary artery diseases at bay.

8. Intake of lot of fresh fruits and vegetables is advised. More colourful and green leafy vegetables should be included in your daily diet; at least three servings in a day.

9. The choice of nuts should be almonds or walnuts.

10. Avoid desi ghee, butter, saturated fats and go for plant oils like mustard oil or olive oil or sunflower oil.

Is desi ghee good for heart?

No. Desi ghee is also an animal fat. People think that everything from cow is good for health but desi ghee made from cow’s milk is not good for the heart.

People must understand that it is animal fat and so fully saturated fat, especially if you consume it in the form of butter or makkhan, which contains butyric acid and that is very, very bad for the heart.

How can one achieve a blood pressure count of below 140/90?

Lifestyle modification, control of body weight and if it (hypertension) doesn’t come down to desired level then addition of drugs (medicines) as prescribed and with consultation of a doctor is important.

Hypertension is a silent killer.

It is the most prevalent cardiovascular disease in our country. Every third Indian is suffering from high blood pressure. And because it is an asymptomatic disease you require proper screening, regular check ups so that you can diagnose this silent killer early and change your lifestyle and add drugs, if necessary, to control hypertension.

Remember that diabetes and hypertension are the most important risk factors for coronary artery diseases.

Diabetes is a disease that affects your heart and brain.

High blood pressure is a very common cause for stroke and can cause hemorrhagic strokes.

Diabetes can cause thrombotic strokes as well as hemorrhagic strokes.

Diabetes can affect your brain, eyes, kidney and heart.

How does one control the blood sugar level?

By regular exercise and by avoiding obesity, especially central obesity that is a pot belly. Insulin resistance is very high in people with central obesity.

If central obesity is not controlled or if there is a history of diabetes in your family then get periodic check ups and test you HbA1c, that is the Glycated Hemoglobin is very important to detect early onset of diabetes.

HbA1c or Glycated Hemoglobin should be less than six because if it is higher than this level then even if your blood sugar level is normal, there could be a mild variation in your blood sugar level, which can be detected using the HbA1c test.

Also See: World Heart Day Special

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