Youngsters should also worry about heart health; here’s why


There was a time when heart diseases and conditions were associated with old age. That a youngster could be diagnosed with it, was an alien concept. But the times have changed now. Sedentary lifestyle choices, shift in eating habits and factors like stress, anxiety and obesity, have contributed to heart diseases, including heart failure, which has been on the rise for the younger generation of the population.

Dr Attawar Sandeep, founder director and chair of advanced heart failure, KIMS Institute of Heart, Lung Transplantation & Assist Devices, KIMS Hospital, tells indianexpress.com that heart failure is a chronic condition which occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently to meet the metabolic demands of the tissues in the body. A weakened heart results in inadequate blood supply to the cells leading to fatigue, shortness of breath and other symptoms of heart failure. It is largely caused due to build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries and high levels of cortisol from long-term stress.

Causes

* Smoking
* High blood pressure
* Diabetes
* Coronary artery disease
* Bad heart valves

“The condition can create challenges in daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries, and it can also be fatal in some cases. Heart failure is a condition that cannot be reversed, and it develops over time as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker. The body tries to compensate for this with hormonal and other mechanisms and when these compensatory mechanisms fail, and there is a risk to life,” Dr Sandeep cautions, adding that according to the New York Heart Association Classification (NYHA Class 1-4), heart failure has 4 stages and the treatment varies at different stages. “While in the initial stages, the disease can be managed with lifestyle, diet modifications and medications, in the advanced stages, these may not work.”

In the more advanced stages, a surgery or transplant, or a device implantation becomes necessary for most patients.

Treatment for heart failure

Various methods and therapies are currently available for managing each stage of the condition. It is a progressive condition, and with timely interventions, one can live a normal life. It, however, still stands to be irreversible, so identifying it at an early stage can be most beneficial. Initially, the doctor will perform a thorough examination of your body and will check for the symptoms you have been experiencing along with your medical history. This is important to reach an accurate diagnosis and provide the best treatment, Dr Sandeep explains.

What you need to know about maintaining your heart health

– Maintain a healthy weight
– Exercise regularly or engage in outdoor activities
– Eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
– Don’t smoke or consume recreational drugs
– Reduce stress
– Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep

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