In May 2012, world leaders committed to reducing global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is accountable for nearly half of all NCD deaths making it the world’s number one killer. World Heart Day is, therefore, the perfect platform for the CVD community to unite in the fight against CVD and reduce the global disease burden.
Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day informs people around the globe that CVD, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.9 million lives each year, and highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. It aims to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.
Professor David Wood, Cardiologist and President of the World Heart Federation explains: “We cannot underestimate the global importance of good heart health – 31% of all deaths worldwide are from CVD. World Heart Day is our chance to bring people together to tackle the world’s biggest killer and urge more people across the globe to improve their heart health. The power to change is in our hands. Making lifestyle changes such as eating more fruit and vegetables, keeping active and stopping smoking can save millions of lives.
The population of cardiovascular patients particularly within our Khoja community is also rising rapidly, and the disease is afflicting younger people at their peak. While Ramadhan should have been the month wherein we could try to adopt a healthier lifestyle as we refrain from food for the entire month; it doesn’t quite take place. Instead, we give in for our temptation of oily, sugary and junk food items and end up being even more obese than before.
While a disease can be pathologically detected and treated at any stage, prevention really is key.
Over the last few years, there has been a revival of interest in alternate methods of fitness and well-being accompanied by correction of diet and lifestyle. This approach has a positive impact on the body, and helps prevent major heart diseases. Following are some tips for a healthy heart.
1. Physical Exercise
Our body needs at least 45 minutes of physical activity daily. Incorporating physical exercises such as walking, running, cycling and aerobics as part of the daily routine is beneficial for heart health.
2. Healthy Eating
Common heart diseases are caused due to high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes. Therefore, it is important to consume a balanced diet. The diet should consist of ‘heart-healthy’ foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish and fish oils, healthy nuts like almonds, legumes like lentils, and fruits, among others.
3. Snooze Time
Adequate sleep is key to maintaining a healthy heart. Lack of sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, despite maintaining other health habits. Our body needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily and the lack of it can lead to stress and increase the risk of heart diseases.
4. Stress Management
Stress leads to an increase in hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can impact blood pressure and heart rate. Combating stress, especially with the increasingly demanding lifestyles, has long been emphasised. One must identify their triggers for stress and address or avoid them. Practice yoga and meditation to maintain inner calm.
5. Health and Wellness
Apart from following good habits, overall wellness is also important for heart health. Happiness plays a crucial role in determining wellness. Relaxation is integral to having a sound mind and body. It is important to set aside time for hobbies, leisure pursuits and socializing with friends and family. These have a therapeutic effect on the mind.
6. Regular Screening
Regular screening is essential for monitoring overall health. This becomes even more imperative with increasing age. While the life expectancy has increased over time, it is worthwhile only when it’s disease free.
Hence, This year on World Heart Day, let us make a simple promise … for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS- to eat healthy, exercise more, and say no to smoking.
Let’s bring the change. Let’s be the change!