Quit Playing Games With Your Heart: The Rise of Heart Diseases
Heart disease is a major issue plaguing Indians. As a young country, we’re witnessing a distressing rise in heart disease rates. Read on to find out what’s happening.
According to a cardiological study, the annual number of deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease in India was set to rise from 2.26 million in 1990 to 4.77 million in 2020, which is a little more than double in two decades. The heart is a strong muscle that requires regular exercise. In this article, let’s explore the worrying phenomenon of rising cardiovascular diseases in India.
Diet and Genetics
A common cause of heart disease is complications from a sustained bad diet. A healthy diet full of fibre, vegetables, and fruits reduces the chances of heart disease. Unfortunately, young Indians are consuming increased amounts of junk food every single week.
You don’t need a doctor to tell you that consuming fried foods, excessive meat, and large quantities of alcohol regularly will cause heart disease. However, we Indians do love our sweet chai with a samosa or two.
Many Indians choose not to outrun their bad diet, and thus, they are becoming more prone to heart diseases. Regular consumption of foods high in salt, saturated fats, and sugar can spike our cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are the type of harmful cholesterol most common in the human body.
High levels of LDLs clog up our arteries, leading to heart diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cardiac arrest. How does one get high levels of LDL in their body? By regularly consuming fried foods, sugary drinks, and processed food products.
On the other side of the coin, Indians seem to be genetically more susceptible to cardiovascular issues as well.
Although we are a people with a rich culture, our genes are not on our side when it comes to cardiovascular issues. If only we could choose our genes! But this is no time for wishful thinking.
Indians are at a 3 to 20 times higher risk of developing heart diseases. Our genes cause us to develop a heart disease 5-10 years earlier than other ethnicities.
“We’re only getting older baby
And I’ve been thinkin about it lately
Does it ever drive you crazy,
just how fast the night changes?”
These lines from a hit song by One Direction accurately describe the situation concerning changing lifestyles in India. The night is changing, as are the lifestyles of young Indians. Instead of exercising, they spend a lot of time on social media or streaming platforms, thus increasing their screen time.
Add a sedentary lifestyle to this, and we’ve got a deadly, slow-ticking bomb on our hands! Lack of exercise exponentially hikes up our chances of contracting heart disease. This phenomenon has spread all over the nation, with the Indian youth leading stressful lives at home without getting adequate exercise.
The other change is the increasing number of Indians who are now drinking and smoking. A glass of red wine a day may be healthy for you. However, a glass of rum and a soft drink every day is a sure-shot way of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Smoking and drinking cause cancer, liver disease, and heart disease. However, many young people don’t seem to be bothered about the adverse effects of these supposedly “cool” habits. As the damaging effects of smoking and drinking take months and years to manifest as symptoms in our bodies, we are becoming the fastest-growing and most significant market for alcoholic beverages.
What can we do?
Running and walking are the two exercises that doctors recommend, and they do so for a reason. Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, translates to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of contracting heart disease by 20%.
Running out of breath even with the slightest of workouts? Well, here's how you can increase your stamina.
2. Die early or diet early
We need to change our diet to control the growing prevalence of heart disease. A lot of doctors who specialise in heart diseases give the following recommendations:
Reduce/restrict the consumption of junk food, fried foods, and oily foods. Bad cholesterol like LDLs and carcinogens in junk food increase the chances of getting heart disease.
Reduce/restrict your meat intake. Switching to leaner meats like chicken, turkey, and fish, or―even better―a more vegetarian-based diet has a markedly improving effect on heart health.
Quit smoking and reduce drinking. While alcohol may still offer a few health benefits if consumed in moderation, it has been proven that smoking is entirely harmful. You’d just be better off going cold turkey and quitting smoking today if you want to improve not only your heart but your overall health.
Prevention is better than cure. Yes, this is true. However, to battle this alarming rise of heart disease among people below 30, we need to take both preventative and curative measures. We can prevent many looming heart diseases by fighting our unhealthy lifestyle choices. Yes, you can still have fun―just in moderation.
On the flip side, to cure heart issues, you need to be vigilant and detect the disease in a timely manner. A simple blood test can help you check your cholesterol levels, particularly triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Periodic blood tests can help you keep an eye on these levels, which is a highly recommended preventative measure, especially if your family has a history of cardiovascular problems. You should get regularly tested even if you lead a healthy lifestyle so that you are better equipped to make informed decisions about your health.
Heart disease can happen at any age without warning. If you are worried about your heart health and its expensive treatment, consider checking out the health plans by Kenko Health. The Individual Plan gives you 50% off all your medical needs, including discounts on medicines, lab tests, and doctor consultations.