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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Useful Info -- About Heart

A chat with Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart
Specialist) Bangalore was arranged by WIPRO for its employees.
The transcript of the chat is given below. Useful for everyone
Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his
heart ?
1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil 2.
Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid
lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime 3. Quit smoking 4.
Control weight 5. Control blood pressure and sugar
Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No
Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently
healthy person
gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend
everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes
Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What
practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for
perfection in everything in life.
Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise
required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early
and injury to joints .
Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has
inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa , who was my patient.
Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare
Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I'm
currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after
you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and
your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.
Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
Ans: Yoga helps.
Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and the worst is oil.
Qn: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad .
Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there
specific test?
Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok.
Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.
Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position , place an aspirin
tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available,
and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty
takes place within the first hour.
Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart
attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.
Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems
amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age
having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, edentary
lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country
where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for
heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal
range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.
Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems
for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and
you may not have a software engineer as a child
Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times
we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our
heart ? What precautions would you recommend?
Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these
irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the
biological clock.
Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other
complications (short / long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern
anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans : No.
Qn: How would you define junk food?
Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , samosas, and even
masala dosas.
Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable.
What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat
a lot of junk food?
Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately,
Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.
Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans : No.
Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we
see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?
Ans : Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any
description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the
nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for
the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not
turn up.
Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin
count lead to heart problems?
Ans : No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to
increase your exercise capacity.
Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to
So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing
the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half
an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going
to another chair and sitting helps a lot.
Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more
vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart
Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP,
Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart
when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.
Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans : There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the
right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to
avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood
pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes
towards lifestyles.
Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of
heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans : Nature protects women till the age of 45.
Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans : Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do
not smoke and, go for health checkup s if you are past the age
of 30 ( once in six months recommended)...

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