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The heart pumps pure blood to all parts of the body through a network of arteries. These are thicker in the beginning and become finer and thinner as they reach the various organs. These arteries are lined by a layer of epithelial tissues and as blood flows through them, the heavier cholesterol / fat molecules settle down along the walls.
This attracts more and more fat molecules to settle down. This is known as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Over a period of time, the vessels circumference reduces and the blood supply to the target organ reduces. This impacts proper functioning of these organs and when this happens to the major organs like the heart, kidney or the brain, conditions like stroke or thrombosis or heart attack can occur.
This condition, known as coronary artery disease, is becoming a major cause of deaths. While that is the bad news, the good news is that it is largely lifestyle dependent, and if steps are taken, it can be prevented, and in the early stages, the damage completely reversed.
1. Diet: A low-fat, high-fiber, heart-healthy diet consisting of Omega-3 fatty acids is recommended by doctors, especially to people who are prone to develop heart disease. This also requires reduced salt, increased unsaturated fats, reduced triglycerides and reduced sugar. Include loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and fish oils. Include multivitamins or other supplements after checking with your doctor.
2. Exercise: Regular exercise in any form increases the efficiency of the circulatory system, keeps the cholesterol levels in check and helps in blood pressure management. Exercise in any form is advisable, based on individual preference. A moderate physical activity of 30 to 45 minutes per day is advisable.
3. Smoking: This is one of the major risk factors for smoking, and quitting or controlling smoking is one of the best methods to prevent coronary artery disease.
4. Alcohol consumption: While moderate alcohol consumption is believed to be healthy for the heart, excessive alcohol consumption is a strict no-no. Binge drinking especially is shown to cause heart attacks.
5. Weight management: Check with your doctor on what is ideal BMI for you and work out a plan to keep your weight under check.
6. Regular medications: If you are on blood pressure or diabetes medications, ensure you do not miss them. Keep a constant check to ensure your readings are managed well.
7. Watch out: Ask your doctor if there are specific symptoms that you need to watch out and seek medical support if you see any of them.
Coronary disease is not treatable fully, but can be prevented and managed effectively to improve the overall quality of life. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.
Let's understand the function of our heart and how to keep it healthy! Our heart is a muscular organ, located just behind and slightly left of the breast bone. It pumps blood through the network of arteries and veins called the cardiovascular system.
The heart has four chambers:
- The right atrium receives blood from the veins and pumps it to the right ventricle.
- The right ventricle receives blood from the right atrium and pumps it to the lungs, where it is loaded with oxygen.
- The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.
- The left ventricle (the strongest chamber) pumps oxygen rich blood to the rest of the body. The left ventricle’s vigorous contractions create our blood pressure. The foods you eat, the amount of activity you do as well as your lifestyle can dramatically affect the overall health of your heart along with many other tissues that make up your cardiovascular system. Unhealthy eating habits can lead to various Heart Disorders.
Let’s look at the ways to keep it healthy!
- Healthy mind healthy body, so it is important that you take peaceful 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
- Keep yourself out of stress, involve yourself in regular some stress buster activities.
- Keep a check on your Blood Pressure.
- Cut your saturated fat intake and make an effort to check the ingredients of your intake. Too much of bad cholesterol can clog the heart and arteries with dangerous plaque.
- Keep a control on your blood sugar level.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, if you're doing nothing, do something and if you're doing something, do extra.
- Eat more fruit and less fruit juice.
- Control obesity and keep your body mass index(BMI) in controlled level to be fit.
- Quit smoking as soon as you can and get yourself into having something else that you like at regular intervals, which is healthy.
- Cut your calorie intake and cut your sugar sweetened soda and keep check on all your sweet temptations.
- Eat lot of Seafood.
- Find ways to keep yourself happy and out of worries, be with lively people.
- Breathe slowly and deeply for a few minutes a day.
- Get yourself into Yoga.
- Keep a regular check of your hearth health under your doctor’s guidance.
Leave aside all your worries! Have a Healthy Heart and a Healthy Life!
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