Heart disease is certainly a leading cause of death, but that does not mean that you have to accept it as your fate. Though you may be unable to change some risk factors such as family history, sex or age, there still remains within your power steps that you can take to control your future. Dr. Joseph Kavirayor Ethelbert, Chief Cardio Therapist and Transplant Surgeon of PVS Hospital, Cochin advises on how to keep your heart healthy.
A healthy lifestyle is your most potent weapon against heart disease. The modifiable risk factors are smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress,
poor control of blood pressure and blood sugar. Simple changes to your lifestyle lead to a marked reduction in the probability of developing heart
Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in addition to giving you lung cancer and emphysema.
Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack and have devastating consequences, including stroke and death. Cigarette smoke contains a cocktail of chemicals that cause damage to blood vessels and cause various lung diseases, including lung cancer. The primary function of blood is to supply body cells with oxygen and remove waste products of cell activity. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This increases the blood pressure and heart rate by forcing the heart to work harder to supply sufficient oxygen.
When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. However, the more you smoke, the greater your risk. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to second-hand smoke.
(Read the article in full from the February Issue of the Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)