On the occasion of World Heart Day, Dr Subrata Lahiri, a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Delhi Heart and Lung Institute says how to manage risk factors causing heart disease.
COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lifestyle of vulnerable population who suffer from heart disease. In the absence of promising therapeutic and preventive therapy it is difficult to limit the disease transmission in vulnerable population such as the elderly , diabetics and patients with heart, respiratory or other comorbid conditions.
In this situation it is important to control the risk factors of heart disease that will surely lead on to achievement of healthy heart. The common risk factors of heart disease are diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol levels, smoking, hypertension, obesity and sedentary habits. COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the lifestyle of the population as a whole. All the risk factors leading on to heart disease have increased in the recent times due to the effect of lockdown, obesity arising from immobility, lack of regular exercise and job losses.
Diabetes is one of the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks in our country. It causes not only clogging of the blood vessels of the heart by increasing the levels of LDl cholesterol and also tryiglyceride but also causes heart failure by effecting the heart muscle directly . As life expectancy increases the number of patients with diabetic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) will increase Therefore it is important for diabetic population to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, following a diet chart comprising of limited carbohydrates , low unsaturated /hydrogenated fat and high fibre diet.
Patients with diabetes need to control their sugar levels if required with newer anti-diabetic medication and insulin. Keeping a tight control on average 3 monthly sugar levels (HbA1c levels ) should prevent target organ damage and maintain healthy heart. Similarly controlling obesity, sedentary habit requires lot of motivation at the level of individual and adaptation of healthy dietary approaches would definitely achieve a healthy heart. It is believed that people who did moderate exercise just 15 mins a day tended to live an average of three years more than their inactive peers.
People with high blood pressure should take regular medication to prevent sudden surge in BP and cardiovascular events like strokes, heart attacks and heart failures. Similarly depression has become a part of urban, fast life and is thought to be an indirect risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In 2014, an American heart association statement listed depression as a risk factor of poor prognosis after a heart attack and the risk of death was three times more in patients with depression.
Managing and optimizing risk factors for heart disease goes a long way in maintaining a healthy heart and is very much achievable goal . It requires a very well organized approach at the preventive and therapeutic level of health care sector and can transform a population to achieve healthy heart.