Healthy Living For A Healthy Heart

You Are What You Eat

It will be safe to say that without the proper diet your journey to a healthy heart will never be complete. If you already have risk factors like hypertension, cholesterol, stress, if you smoke or you are obese you do not have an excuse – get on a healthy diet immediately.

Even if you are currently free from risks, a healthy diet is a great way to ensure that things stay that way.

Add the anti-oxidant advantage

Vitamin C, E, beta carotene and bioflavonoids – present abundantly in fruits, vegetables. Whole grains, nuts and seeds can go a long way in protecting the heart from free radical damage. Gooseberries, carrots, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts will all do the trick. Remember to add a glass of freshly squeezed citrus fruit juice to your diet.

Go for good fats

Not all fat is bad, monounsaturated fatty acids are good. They have been proven to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). These good fats can be found in olive, soya and mustard oil. Equally good are protective poly unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 found in oily fish and flax seeds.

Fibre facts

Fibre is very effective at lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). Add fruits, vegetables. Whole grains and legumes to your diet mix, they are all fibre-rich. Start your day with the bowl of oats, switch to brown rice, and say yes to whole wheat breads and pasta. Your cholesterol level will be under control.

Declare war on the risky stuff

Go easy on saturated fats and cut out trans fat from your life. Avoid junk food. Switch from red meat to fish or white meat. Go easy with the salt. Finally, if you have to drink, drink in moderation.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke.

Say No to Tobacco

A cigarette smoker has two to three times the risk of having a heart attack than a non-smoker. At least 80% of heart attacks in men under 45 are thought to be due to cigarette smoking. At this age, heavy smokers have 10 to 15 times the rate of fatal heart attacks of non- smokers. Even light smokers are at increased risk of CHD: a US study found that women who smoked 1-4 cigarettes a day had a 2.5 fold increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease.

Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels. Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise: it may increase by as much as 30 percent during the first 10 minutes of smoking. Smoking also raises blood pressure: blood vessels constrict which forces the heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart by reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

Smokers who quit or even just cut down on cigarettes can begin to reap the health benefits within a few months.

A Fit Heart Beats in a Fit Body

Read on to find out how an active body is an active heart.

Regular exercise can help protect you from heart diseases, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress.

For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.

If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.

Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

Know your numbers

Visit a health-care professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and Body Mass Index.

Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.

Get the Preventive Heart Check Advantage

A Preventive Heart Check enables people concerned about their heart health to have a professional medical test and assessment. The tests are administered by fully qualified registered doctors and are the same tests used by doctors around the world. These tests typically include an electrocardiogram (ECG) stress test, an ankle/brachial index test and a halter (24 hours ECG test).

The ECG cardiac stress test is the first test recommended by most cardiologists’ worldwide to diagnose coronary artery disease. The ECG stress test involves monitoring your heart condition through an electrocardiogram both whilst you are resting and separately whilst you are experiencing increasing physical activity on a treadmill. The ECG stress test is generally considered to give accurate results in approximately 70% of cases.

A Preventive Heart Check measures your risk, but it doesn’t stop there. You are offered reassurance, encouraged to take preventive action or asked to consult your own physician, as appropriate to get you back on track. The positive implementation of a recommended course of action can reduce your cardiac risk factors.

The clear benefits include

1) Positive reassurance – you are likely to be healthy – without encouraging complacency.

2) Detection of impending trouble with a chance to avert it.

3) Detection of disease with prompt referral.

4) Clarification of a number of worrying symptoms.

5) Your test report can be a helpful benchmark for future tests.

6) Progress is monitored over time.

In India, Apollo Hospitals has in the last 26 years focused its efforts to propagate the concept of well being through preventive health check packages. The preventive health check packages are designed to suit the needs of wide cross sections of people across age groups.

Apollo Heart Check (AHC)

The Apollo Heart Check is a standard heart check package. The package includes a range of tests to assess the state of your heart and indicated your risk to coronary artery disease. Consultation with a cardiologist forms part of the package.

Apollo Advanced Heart Check

The Apollo Advanced Heart Check is a high-end comprehensive package, which consists of all tests included in Apollo Heart Check and additionally comprises of advanced blood tests that are good indicators of associated coronary artery risks in an individual. The package also includes an advanced 64 Slice CT heart scan and consultation with a Cardiologist.

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