Dr.Amar Singhal


Alternate Text


Heart disease at 30 Blame lifestyle

If you binge on junk food, smoke and don’t exercise, you are at risk of developing heart diseases in your thirties. According to doctors, about 46.9 million Indians between 20 and 69 will suffer from heart diseases by 2010 and half of them will be youngsters. “We have completely westernised our lifestyle. Fast food has become the staple diet for majority of youngsters. They take soft drinks in place of water and spend hours sitting in front of computers. Our sedentary lifestyle has made us more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases,” N.K. Pandey, cardiologist and chairman of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, told IANS Saturday, the eve of World Heart Day. According to Pandey, when it comes to heart diseases, thirties is the new forties or fifties. ”We live under so much of stress that we can get susceptible to heart diseases at a very young age. Most of the time people start smoking to beat the stress,” said Pandey. According to a survey by National commission on Macroeconomics and Health, over 3.5 million Indians, 50 percent of them from productive age groups, will die of heart diseases by 2015. ”Intake of food rich in fats and carbohydrates, smoking, stress and lack of exercise are some of the factors leading to cardiovascular diseases,” said Anil Saxena, cardiologist with Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre here. The hospital receives heart patient as young as 25 to 30 though earlier cardiac diseases were seen in people above fifties, says Saxena. Amar Singhal, head of cardiology at Sree Balaji Action Medical Institute, said: “It is not that people are unaware about causes of cardiovascular diseases but still they are not proactive in following a healthy lifestyle. It is high time we start taking care of ourselves.” Explaining that some simple dietary and lifestyle changes could do wonders, Singhal said: “Make walking part of life. Not necessarily a morning walk but take a stroll every two hours in your office. ”Follow a diet chart and most importantly stick to it. Fix a time for having meals and your diet should be assortment of all vitamins, proteins and necessary minerals,” he said. T.S. Kler, executive director, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, has a mantra for a healthy heart—pack lunch for office and don’t eat outside; stroll after every meal; take the stairs, not the lift.

Heart Health Tips If you’re not convinced about the need to develop an exercise program for your life, you can at least try following some of these tips in your everyday routine.

  • Take advantage of any opportunity for exercise.
  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot. The short walk to help your heart.
  • If you ride a bus or subway, get off a stop before your destination. Walk the rest of the way.
  • Spend a few minutes of your lunch break taking a stroll around. It should help you stay awake after lunch.
  • Think of housework as an extra chance to exercise. Vacuuming briskly can be a real workout.
  • Mowing the lawn and raking leaves are chores that can be done yourself as a chance to exercise.
  • If you have a family, schedule an after-dinner walk. Make it quality time.

Tips to lower cholesterol

  • Boost your intake of soluble fibre by eating oats, plenty of fruit and vegetables and choosing wholegrain varieties of bread, cereals and rice.
  • Trim visible fat and skin off red meat and chicken as these are high in saturated fat
  • Use rapeseed, olive, groundnut and linseed oils when cooking and baking.
  • Use different protein sources when you cook, like lentils, beans and soya based products. Soya can have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels
  • Steam, boil, grill or poach your food
  • Include garlic in your diet. Garlic contains substance that can reduce blood pressure & cholesterol
  • Drink warm water after a meal.
  • Avoid processed foods and make your own cakes and treats
  • Ground flaxseed (linseed) added to other foods can help to lower LDL cholesterol
  • Choose low-fat yoghurts, cheeses, creams and skimmed milk .
  • Choose whole grains over refined ones and eat a variety of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat unsalted almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts or sprinkle some onto breakfast cereals, salads and desserts.
  • If you already have high cholesterol levels you may want to reduce your intake of cholesterol rich foods such as some shellfish (e.g. prawns and squid).
  • Always check the label as you only need to use small amounts, having more has no added effect.
Book By Dr.Amar Singhal