Is this sign of life free from diseases? heart is not unknown to the common man in
this day and age- we all know at least one person who suffers from it! A disease as ubiquitous
as it is deadly; its severe effects can be delayed and even avoided in most cases if detected early!
This World Heart Day, this article throws light on various heart diseases commonly seen in our
society, the seemingly harmless day-to-day factors triggering their occurrence and what can be
done to protect the heart before it is trapped in the quagmire of suffering.
What are Cardiovascular Diseases?
Cardiovascular diseases comprise of various conditions that affect the heart and
blood vessels. These bring down heart's efficiency, affecting its functions which
impacts overall body's well-being.
Chronic stress, obesity and inflammation of artery walls, promotes
temporary impairment of endothelial function (lining of heart and blood vessels).
It also causes accumulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL-bad cholesterol) and
immune cells, forming plaques in arteries. Narrowing and hardening of artery walls
due to plaque buildup is atherosclerosis. This slows down the flow of oxygen-rich blood
to muscles and is known as coronary artery disease.
Atherosclerotic plaques put pressure on narrow arterial walls making heart
work harder to pump blood to the body which raises blood pressure causing Hypertension.
Myocardial Ischemia When plaque deposition slowly reduces/blocks
blood flow in arteries, heart does not get enough oxygen, affecting its function, causing
myocardial ischemia. Over time, this can cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia).
Chest Pain (Angina)Clogged arteries have constricted circulation which leads to less oxygen
and nutrients for heart muscles. This affects cardiac rhythm, causing chest pain.
Heart Attack or Stroke
Above conditions can activate platelets, and abnormalities in molecules involved for blood
clotting over time. This increases risk of plaque disruption through rupture or erosion, which
can cause blood clots in arteries, increasing risk of heart attack or stroke.
Congenital Heart Diseases
These are abnormalities or defect in the structure of heart and blood vessels present at
the birth of an individual. Symptoms include abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia),
cyanosis (bluish coloration of skin), dizziness/fainting, breathlessness, and edema (swelling)
Heart Muscle Disease (Cardiomyopathy)
Abnormality of heart muscles wherein heart is unable to pump adequate amount of blood to the body. This occurs when heart muscles are stretched making them weaker, creating stress
and arrhythmia as the blood is pumped. Factors such as abnormal functioning of thyroid,
kidneys, certain infections, irregular iron levels in the body, etc., influence the occurrence
Diseases (CAD), heart attack or stroke by estimating values of biomarkers that include
Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) and Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) - Monitor
LDL-bad cholesterol levels in the body
Book Cardiac Risk Markers Heart Test
Lipoprotein [Lp(a)]- It's increased levels raise the risk of Cardiovascular disease
Homocysteine- Raised levels are considered to be a risk factor for development of Atherogenesis
hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein)- Useful in detecting the risk of heart
diseases by detecting the levels of CRP.
LP-PLA2 (Lipoprotein-associated Phospholipase A2)- Measures the activity of enzyme
Lp-PLA2 which contributes to inflammation of arteries and promotes atherosclerosis.
Higher levels indicate risk of heart diseases to even heart attack or stroke.
GOOD FOOD, GREAT HEART- FOOD FOR A HEALTHIER HEART
An adult heart beats around 60-100 times per minute supplying about 5.7 liters of blood
to the body. Just a fist sized organ, but is programmed to pump blood to body's every end,
from tip-to-toe, tirelessly for whole of our lifetimes! It helps to supply constant nutrition
to the tissues and organs, to keep them healthy and active. Ever paid attention to the foods
that keep this tirelessly working Heart healthy
Amidst the quagmire of busy schedules and demanding life, we do not pay attention to what
we eat. Most of us end up pushing our bodies to work like a robot, without adequate care and
respect. What we consume has direct impact on the health of all organs including the life-sustaining
' 'Heart'. Sometimes, we choose to eat just to feel full or when we crave junk or processed foods,
diet sodas, white rice biryani, creamy curries, fried oily fast foods, blended coffees with whipped
cream, pizzas, potato chips, that Chinese takeout or sugary 'comfort foods' to satiate our palate.
These foodstuffs though appeal us, are loaded with high levels of salt, sugar, saturated and trans
fats, and artificial ingredients.
Many processed or fast foods are made to be hyper 'rewarding' to the brain such that we feel
very good when we consume them. Metabolic processes in the body follow a pattern to regulate
appetite, digestion and metabolism of fat, cholesterol and glucose. Food intake influences body's
internal clocks, mainly in organs like liver and intestine. These rewarding foods bypass these
regulatory processes, making us overeat, so much that it compromises our overall health.
When you eat is as crucial as what you eat! Irregular eating patterns, late night snacks and
skipping meals (especially breakfast) lead to binge eating and disturb metabolism. These
eventually affect the heart's functioning and health by increasing the risk of obesity, high
cholesterol, high blood pressure, Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart diseases and in a long
run, even heart attack or stroke
What are the Foods to Keep Your Heart Fit?
Fiber-rich Whole Grains
These are rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium.
They increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels, clean arteries of fats, and keep one feeling
full, preventing overeating. Add oatmeal or soy flour to chapati flour or use wheat flour
and replace white rice with brown rice. Eg: Wheat, bajra, ragi (nachni), barley, rajgira,
lapsi, maize, jowar, quinoa and oats.
Beans (red kidney beans), chickpeas and lentils (dalmoong, toor, chana) are low glycemic
index foods which do not cause an immediate surge of sugar in blood, therefore help in
blood sugar control. They keep one full for long and as are packed with insoluble fiber,
control blood pressure and reduce risk of heart diseases. Sprouting the pulses increases
their fiber and nutrient (calcium, vitamin C, iron) content, which control cholesterol levels.
Salmon, mackerel, sardines, bluefish and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote
heart health by lowering triglycerides levels and blood pressure. They contain unsaturated
fats which reduce irregular heartbeats and decrease risk of heart diseases.
Fruits and Green Leafy Vegetables
They are powerhouses rich in calcium, vitamins, iron, protein, potassium, magnesium,
beta-carotene and dietary fiber
while being low-calorie and less in carbohydrates. Packed with vital antioxidants and
heart-healthy phytonutrients, they cut down the risk of diabetes, reduce inflammation,
improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from cardiovascular damage by
kickstarting body's natural detox mechanisms. Eg
Pomegranate, oranges, musk melon, papaya, blueberries, strawberries, apple, grapes,
kiwi, grapefruit, avocado, mango, cherries, peaches, apricot.
Tomatoes, carrots, spinach, broccoli, kidney beans, sweet potato, flax seed, collards,
kale, sweet potatoes, red peppers.
Tiny delicious, nutritional powerhouses, these are a smart portable choice for you and your
heart! These provide doublebarreled protection against both diabetes and cardiovascular
diseases, with a high fiber content that improves blood flow, stabilizing blood sugar levels
and lowering bad cholesterol and free radicals. Being rich in vitamin, potassium,
calcium, they help maintain a steady heartbeat, relax heart vessels and reduce Homocysteine
levels. Healthy fats (unsaturated fats), antioxidants, vitamin and plant sterols lower bad (LDL)
cholesterol and blood pressure, improve heart's response to stress along with heart function
and output. These benefits reduce the risk of heart diseases. They prevent various infections,
plaque formation and boost serotonin levels fostering a good night sleep. Eg: Walnuts (rich in
omega-3 fatty acids), almonds and cashews (rich in calcium) dates, raisins, pistachios, pecans,
hazelnuts, apricots, figs
Low-fat Dairy products
Reduced-fat milk, cheese and yogurt protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and
stroke. These foods are naturally rich in saturated
Rich in flavonoids, dark chocolate reduces insulin resistance, blood pressure, plaque formation,
bad cholesterol and blood glucose levels, blunt cravings and improves insulin sensitivity and
blood flow to the brain and heart.
Turmeric (active ingredient- curcumin), cinnamon (mineral- chromium), garlic, pepper, coriander,
ginger contain antioxidants to fight free radical damage to blood vessels and heart. These heart
potions improve and maintain good blood flow and strengthen heart. They can reverse insulin
resistance, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels; cutting down the risk of heart diseases.
Testing @ Healthcare Ontime for Heart Health
Diagnostic tests at Thyrocare are meticulously designed with utmost care to identify risk markers
that affect heart health and include Lipid profile, Cardiac risk markers, Lipoprotein-associated
Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2). These tests/profiles keep a tab on heart's health to avert any future
risk of heart ailments due to an existing disorder or deficiency, environmental, dietary and lifestyle
behavioral factors. Wondering much how such small foodstuffs have a profound impact on heart's
health, while being amazingly palatable to our palates! Healthy lifestyle habits with regular health
checkups, right exercises and getting good sleep to be active and stress-free, are equally essential
to reap out maximum benefits of your heart healthy diet.
Healthy Heart, Happy Life
I had chest pains, but that cannot be a heart attack, right? I'm only 32
My blood pressure is normal now. Why should I still take these expensive
heart medicines I thought it was indigestion. I get that a lot. What can I
do, I just love food Don't be silly, heart attack means getting pain in the
chest, I just had some shoulder and back pain.I drink this special
concoction that I saw online, every single day! Who needs blood
tests and those gross medicines Those medicines are all a scam
anyway with their horrible side effects and all.
Haven't we all heard at least one of the above statements being
said Now, considering heart disorder to be the major cause of death
globally, India too, has not escaped from the jaws of this deadly disease.
Heart is a fist-sized organ, that pumps blood throughout the body.
It supplies nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removes carbon
dioxide, and other wastes. Such an important organ deserves a little
more attention every now and then. So, we wish to remind all our
readers of some ways that can help them focus better on their heart health!
Factors That Affect Heart Health
-Smoking/ Alcohol consumption
-Stress Genetic factors
Major Types Of Heart Disorders
-Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) - Damage of coronary arteries
causing decreased blood flow to the organs
Stroke - Sudden interruption of oxygen-rich blood supply to the brain
Hypertensive Heart Disease - Heart diseases caused by elevated blood pressure
Other Cardiovascular diseases - Heart tumor, heart valve diseases, heart
Inflammatory Heart Disease - Inflammation of the heart induced by
microorganisms or toxic elements in the environment
Rheumatic Heart Disease - Damage of the heart valves followed by
rheumatic fever caused by streptococcal bacteria
Congenital Heart Disease - Abnormality of the heart structure
that is present since birth
Healthy Lifestyle- Requisite for a Healthy Heart!
Healthy lifestyle choices can help in keeping away the heart disorders
to a great extent.
Here are some ways to check your heart health for a happier you!
Follow Heart Healthy Diet
Diet is a great place to start with. Pick up one of the following
foodsberries, tuna, salmon, trout, oatmeal, legumes or beans,
spinach, broccoli, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa,
almonds, walnuts and pistachios. These contain antioxidants,
omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids,
all of which help strengthen the heart. Avoid soda or any fried
and processed foods that increase your chance of developing
heart disease. In addition to eating the above food, experts
say at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise can
help improve heart health.
Any practice of mindfulness, whether a short minute or a
long hour, is beneficial for calming oneself and one's
emotions, making aware of how one feels physically and
emotionally. Regular practice can lower heart rate and
improve blood flow as well as reduce and manage stress.
Track Resting Heart Rate
Being aware of your resting heart rate is a good way of determining
heart health, fitness level and can alert you to any health issues. A
normal and healthy resting heart rate is anywhere between 60-100
beats per minute. Lower the number, healthier will be the heart,
and longer will be the lifespan.
Positive Outlook on Life
Heart health is not just about diet and exercise, it is about
one's outlook on life too. In the past decade there have been
many studies showing a link between our thoughts or attitude
and our heart health. A 2007 Harvard study determined that,
a sense of enthusiasm or hopefulness and the ability to face
life's stress with about 40% of what prompts happiness is
under one's own control!
Testing @ Thyrocare for Heart Ailments
Partaking in a heart healthy profile is one of the most accurate
ways to assess the well-being of your heart.
A complete cholestrol profile is an easy indicator that checks
the levels of good (High Density Lipoprotein- HDL) and bad
(Low Density Lipoproteins- LDL) cholestrol in the body. This
panel includes Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Very low-density
Lipoprotein (VLDL), Triglycerides and their ratios.
Cardiac Risk Markers
A group of blood tests performed in order to evaluate one's
risk for coronary Heart directly heart attack or stroke by
estimating values of biomarkers that include Apolipoprotein
B (ApoB), Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), ApoB/ApoA1 Ratio,
Homocysteine, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
and Lipoproteinassociated phospholipase A2 (LpPLA2).
Heart health directly affects the quality of life one leads.
To lead a healthy and fulfilling life, paying attention to
unhealthy lifestyle or dietary habits is a must. Over time,
these can cause obesity, stress and reduce stamina. Heart
problems are one of the leading issues faced by developing
nations such as our own. In order to tackle it at the root,
focus must be on early diagnosis, followed by treatment
protocols to keep heart diseases in check.