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A Healthy Heart
by Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy
Why is every one so concerned about the heart and the heart attack? Because other organs give ample time before they fail but when heart stops it’s the end of the world. Liver takes days and weeks before it fails; so also, other organs like kidney, lung and brain do not cause sudden death.

Heart attack was very common in the west only a few decades back but with modification of diet, life style, education, drugs advancement in medical science, the mortality has drastically come down. But heart disease has become an epidemic in the third world or developing world. Due to improper food, sedentary life style, diabetes and blood pressure heart attacks have become the leading cause of death in middle aged people in India.

We should know a little bit of “heart attack”.

See the photograph of the heart; you will notice small arteries and veins on the surface of this wonderful organ, which supply blood to the heart muscles.

Heart has only one function to receive blood and pump out blood to all the organs of the body.

It’s a sophisticated pump working from the beginning of the life in side the mother’s womb till death.

On an average it pumps 60 to 100 times per minute you can calculate how much time it pumps blood in a day. It needs blood for its muscles through those tiny arteries. When they get blocked may be a single one or two or all the three then the person gets a heart attack and some part of the heart muscle become dead - bigger the area of the dead muscle more serious will be the out come. If it’s massive then the person dies suddenly within minutes.

The narrowing occurs because of many factors but the most important being the gene and the type life one leads. Mental stress, bad food habits, smoking, over weight, lack of physical exercise, family history, high cholesterol level all contribute to narrowing which is called atherosclerosis of arteries.

So to keep your heart healthy one has to make efforts right from child hood not after one gets a heart attack. The America heart association and WHO recommends plenty of green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fibers in diet, less of salt, sugar and oil in diet. Keep your weight in the range for your age, sex and height. Do a little bit of exercise, if nothing is possible walk three to four kilometers a day or use cycle for going to your office if it’s with in four or five kilometers of range. Avoid saturated fatty (<7%) diet. Animal meats should be avoided and fish , especially oily ones, twice a week should be consumed in their place. For vegetarians they should get their protein from pulses and milk or curd. Avoid Soya protein or milk.

Indians do eat lots of deep fried food and the same oil is used for cooking over again and again which results in productions of toxic chemicals called oxidants which affect the vascular system of the body resulting in all sorts of disease from cancer to heart attacks.

Images under license with Gettyimages.com

12-Apr-2009
 
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