World Heart Day 2022-Our Lifestyles and our Hearts!

World Heart Day 2022-Our Lifestyles and our Hearts!
Dr. Ravi Sankar Erukulapati

September 29th is World Heart Day and there is a lot of talk about the Heart. World Heart Day is meant to improve awareness among people across the world about cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD including heart disease and stroke is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 18.6 million lives each year.

The aim of World Heart Day is 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.

Tobacco use in any form is deleterious for all parts of the body, be it the heart, lungs, or brain, and also increases the risk of several cancers. Educating the common man about the dangerous effects of tobacco is of paramount importance in our fight against heart disease.

As the human race evolved, food has transformed beyond a basic need for survival, into a comfort provider, both for the palate and the brain. Junk and processed foods, and unhealthy eating patterns have crept into our lives so much so that they have become inseparable from our lives, thereby causing irreparable damage to the body. Processed and junk food consumption, salt, and fat usage need to be minimized if we are serious about mitigating CVD risk.

In the competitive world, we live in, in our quest to reach our materialistic goals, many of us have forgotten the fundamental need to keep the body healthy by leading a healthy lifestyle and instead started abusing our bodies and hearts in many ways. Lack of regular physical activity, untimely sleep patterns, and target-driven stress have become part and parcel of our lives. Stepping back and revisiting the basics, including the very purpose of life can help resolve this to a large extent.

Leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping the body and mind fit is of course essential even to achieve our materialistic goals. Regular exercise helps prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension which are important and preventable risk factors for CVD.

Psychological stress can double the risk of having a heart attack. Regular exercise, meditation, yoga, and getting enough quality sleep help to lower stress levels. As we Indians have a higher genetic predisposition for diabetes and heart disease, it is more so important to lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of our bodies and our Hearts. So, let us pledge on the eve of this World Heart Day that we shall do all that is necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle and protect our Hearts.

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