HEART DISEASES AND THEIR RELATION TO UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLES
It’s been estimated that along with diabetes, India will soon also become the capital of the world as far as heart diseases go.
Gone are the days when age, gender and family history were risk factors for heart disease; other factors like unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and burgeoning stress levels are now ruling that arena. Currently more and more young Indians are suffering from heart diseases owing to unhealthy lifestyles and the situation is looking very bleak indeed with an estimate of about 36% of deaths being due to heart disease alone by 2030.
With current modern lifestyles where everything is done ‘on the go’, there is no time left for good old fashioned home-cooked meals or stress-free weekends spent outdoors in the sun with the family. These unhealthy lifestyle choices are the reason behind about 70% of the heart diseases seen today among the urbanites.
Unhealthy diet is an important risk-factor for chronic conditions as far as obesity, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure go, all of which are underlying causes of heart disease. A diet rich in plant food, low-saturated fats and high fiber can reduce this risk substantially. The risk of coronary artery disease is also reduced by cutting out on smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption. Make simple choices like staying active, eating healthy, reducing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.
Heart disease is often called coronary heart disease which occurs when plaque deposits within the arteries leading to the heart, resulting in blockage and lower oxygen levels. Plaque, which is a waxy substance, develops over time within arteries damaged by high blood pressure, smoking or bad fats.
Some of the risk factors for developing heart diseases include:
Smoking – Heart attacks are more common in smokers as the presence of nicotine and carbon monoxide results in arterial damage, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis.
Unhealthy diet – Fast foods, takeaways, junk food are all detrimental to your health as they are high in trans fats, salt and sugar. They lead to obesity, hypertension and diabetes in the long run, all of which are precursors to heart disease.
Physical Inactivity – There should be an equal burn-up of calories as that taken in otherwise it leads to obesity and heart health issues. Regular exercise is required to keep the arteries clean and healthy.
Hypertension – Persistent high blood pressure can harden and thicken the inner walls of arteries, making them unsuitable for the heart.
Cholesterol – High blood cholesterol levels lead to plaques and atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart disease.
Obesity – A bad diet along with low physical activity become a burden to the heart.
Diabetes – Both heart disease and type 2 diabetes share same risk factors of hypertension and obesity.
Stress – Anxiety and stress not only affect you mentally but physically too, by increasing your risk of heart disease.
Age, gender, family history and poor dental hygiene are some other well-known factors.