Use Heart to Beat Cardiovascular Disease’ was the theme of World Heart Day 2020. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) today is the number one cause of death on the planet.
The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow of blood carries with it oxygen, fuel, hormones, other compounds, and a host of essential cells. It also whisks away the waste products of metabolism. When the heart stops, essential functions fail, some almost instantly.
Given the heart’s never-ending workload, it’s a wonder it keeps performing so well for so long and for so many people!
But did you know that the heart can also fail due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, infection, unlucky genes, etc.?
A key problem is atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk inside the arteries. These pockets, called plaque, can limit the flow of blood in the arteries that nourish the heart (the coronary arteries) and other arteries throughout the body. When a plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Although many people develop some form of CVD as they get older, it isn’t inevitable. A healthy lifestyle, especially when adopted at a young age, goes a long way in preventing CVDs. While it is better for heart-harming trends like high blood pressure or high cholesterol to be nipped in the bud through lifestyle changes and medications, a variety of medications, operations, and devices are available which can offer support to the heart if any damage occurs.
So let’s rise to the occasion and have a healthy heart for a happy life!
Dr Afreen Banu K.
Telemedicine and Wellness Team