How to take care of your Heart : Some tips from a doctor

A chat with Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist) Bangalore was arranged by WIPRO for its employees .

Dr Devi Shetty

One friend sent me the transcript of the chat in email. This interview is extremely useful for all Indians and is being reproduced below for your benefit :

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 fatigue 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 medicines?

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 any 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, s 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 exercise. 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 operation?

Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease 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) ….

Share this with all your friends……. They might be benefitted 🙂

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10 Responses to How to take care of your Heart : Some tips from a doctor

  1. Rahul Nov 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    Hey… I’d gone through this article somewhere else on the net. Anyways.. quite helpful tips.

  2. caleb jonathan peters Dec 12, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Well,i feel most fortunate to have browsed across these health tips.The ailment is also common with Africans.And all i feel like is to share out it out with folks around me.Thanks for ya well comprehended answers, and more grease to your elbow Sir.however i would have love to ask questions about pile (an anus infection).Pls i would look forward to your mails.

  3. Vijay Goyal Dec 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    Tips are really helpful
    please also publish tips for to avoids High B.P. ,Asthama attecks, crack on foot(addi).

  4. SHAM.PARIT Aug 11, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    Thanks alot to Dr Devi Shetty, for sharing “how to take care of heart” information It helped me alot.
    Im a student, and i do care alot for my parents.
    so specially for my dad. I use to check information about healttips, diseses.. in net.

  5. SRH Feb 24, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    Dear sir,
    i ‘am Pakistani and leaving in Saudia.Last 6 month back i suffered in sevier chest pain and doctor gone for angeo plasty 3 artries were blocked .After 1 month again i feel chaist pain and i went to pakistan and took another angeoplasty over that time one artry blocked and one damage stint repare. Now again after 1 and half month i feel chaist pain doctor told me go for third time angeography.Actually when i walk pain is started when i go slow or stop pain is also reduce and stop.Would you think really i’m suffered in heart problem or any other mater.Should I go for third time angeography.

  6. Eklavya Feb 28, 2010 at 2:52 am #

    Dear SRH,

    I am sorry to say that I can’t offer much help in the matter as I am not a qualified doctor. This article was just to inform the people on how to take care of their heart. I think that you should consult a good cardio surgeon in your country.

  7. mittal chauhan Nov 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    its a really helpful tips

  8. Dechen Jan 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    respected doctor
    tension and problems may cause heart failure?? is it true?

  9. Neelamadhab Mishra Nov 8, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Thank you doctor for so mush valuable information.I think I should add one more point,that is one should have strong aspirations to carry out the advice of the doctor to avoid heart attacks.

  10. pascoal rodrigues Sep 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    I had bypass surgery at age 35 so appreciate getting your tips. I need more tips from you to take care of my heart. What is the best prescription medication after surgery? I am now 41. How often should I see a doctor after having had my surgery? Thanks a lot Dr. Devi Shetty.

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