Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the UAE a recent study suggests. A number of factors associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, among these some are non-modifiable and most are modifiable, that means we can be able to manage within our daily routines of life.
Some of the harmful habits in our daily routine can damage our heart health. Mentioned below are some of the habits :
Sitting all day: A recent study by the American Heart Association compared people with an active lifestyle to those who are sitting more than 5 hours a day and concluded that the latter group has double the risk of heart disease. This inactivity could be related to an office job or watching TV. If your job requires sitting all day it is very important to get up and take a walk of 5 minutes to an hour, to promote blood flow in arteries and keep your arteries flexible and protect against the negative effects of being sedentary.
Stressing too much: Stress is associated with the release of adrenaline which causes an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure, causing damage to blood vessels of the heart leading to heart attack and stroke.
Following are the recommendation to minimize the harmful effects of stress:
1. Share your feeling by talking with a trusted friend or family member.
2. Make a routine of daily exercise to relieve the mental stress, 30 min walk of moderate intensity most day of the week is advised.
3. Plan your day, prioritizing your daily work will prevent rushing to get everything done.
Not getting enough sleep: If you don’t get good sleep your cardiovascular system does not get the rest it needs. Sleeplessness is also associated with a high level of cortisol and adrenaline hormone in the body similar to those levels associated with stressful situations. It is recommended that adults get 7 hours of sleep each night for a healthy heart and body. Teens and young adults should aim for 9 hours.
Smoking: Smoking from cigarettes, pipes or cigars is as bad for the heart and arteries as for lungs. If you are smoking, quitting the habit is a very big gift you can give yourself to your heart, second-hand hand smoke is also toxic for the heart. So avoid it whenever possible.
Being overweight: Carrying extra pounds especially around the belly strain your heart and pose a high risk of developing Diabetes Mellitus. Reducing weight can make your risk of developing heart disease low. Loosing 5-10% weight can make a big difference for high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus.
Not eating healthy: Over eating and an unhealthy diet are associated with an increase in the weight and risk of heart disease. Add a large portion of vegetables and fruits in your diet, avoiding red meat is also healthy and helps to reduce cholesterol and weight. Keeping low salt in the diet is also advised in the treatment of hypertension.
High alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol is associated with high blood pressure, weight gain and heart problems, avoid binge drinking which is likely associated with arrhythmia and heart failure.
Lifestyle changes are a process and do occur slowly, so practice patience and write down the list of changes you want to make in your life. Don’t try to make all the changes at once. Most people run into difficulties and failure when they try to change too much too fast, make gradual changes in the lifestyle, achieve targets and don’t give up to maintain the healthier heart.
Aster Speciality Clinic, International City