World Heart Day 2022: Top lifestyle changes to make after a heart attack
World Heart Day 2022: Leading a healthy lifestyle post heart attack can turn around one's heart health and reduce chances of a second heart attack.
World Heart Day 2022: Sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor eating habits is deteriorating our heart health like never before. Heart attacks are becoming more common in the post pandemic world with mounting stress, effects of Covid on our heart, inactivity and unhealthy eating choices. A heart attack is a life-changing event and often leaves people stressed about the probability of a second such episode. Experts however assure that leading a healthy lifestyle can turn around one's heart health and reduce chances of a second heart attack. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Best and worst foods for heart health)
Making right food choices (food with high protein with low fats with high fibre with low salt and low sugar), regular physical exercise, quitting smoking, being compliant with medications is all you need to cut risk of a second heart attack, says Dr. Vikrant Khese, Consultant Cardiologist, Apollo Clinic.
"Lifestyle habits hold a very important place in everyone’s life to ensure a healthy heart. We all are aware that prevention is always better than cure. However, a survived heart attack is a wakeup call for them to an individual to follow a discipline and caution in their day-to-day habits and lifestyle. The body gets a second chance to change a few habits for a longer and healthier life," says Dr Dhaval Naik, Heart Transplant Surgeon, Marengo CIMS Hospital.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES AFTER HEART ATTACK
Dr Praveer Agarwal, Cardiac Sciences, Executive Director, Fortis Escorts says physical inactivity is one of the major causes of heart disease and brisk walking for 30–45 minutes every day can be very helpful and promote blood circulation.
According to some studies, those who get enough sleep are less likely to get heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. Dr Agarwal says maintaining a sleep schedule is very important for a healthy heart and a person must sleep for at least 6–8 hours a day.
One must try to avoid saturated fats, meats, high-calorie stuff, processed foods, sugary items, baked products among other.
"Less than 7 percent of daily calories should come from saturated fat. processed foods. No more than 25 to 35 percent of daily calories should come from all fats, including saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. The amounts of cholesterol and the types of fat in prepared foods can be found on the foods' Nutrition Facts labels. Foods high in soluble fiber should be part of your diet. They help prevent the digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. Include whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran, fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes, legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans. 10 percent reduction in blood cholesterol decreases 20-30 percent CAD deaths, says Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director of cardiology at Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad.
Dr Kumar says limiting the amount of sodium (6 gram of salt) in food can also be helpful in reviving cardiac health. This means choosing low-salt and "no added salt" foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking. The Nutrition Facts label on food packaging shows the amount of sodium in the item.
AVOID ALCOHOL AND SMOKING
Limit drinks that contain alcohol. Too much alcohol will blood pressure and triglyceride level. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which will cause weight gain. Risk of heart attack decreases within 24 hr of stopping to smoke; within 1 year of quitting - risk decreases significantly and by 2 years it reaches the level of non-smoker.
"Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk for CHD. A general goal to aim for is a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25. BMI measures your weight in relation to your height and gives an estimate of your total body fat. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. A BMI of less than 25 is the goal for preventing and treating CHD," says Dr Kumar.
"Think less and make that mind body connection. Mental health is important as physical wellbeing. Avoid stressful situations and meditate for at least half-an-hour every day," says Dr Charan Lanjewar, Interventional Cardiologist and Honorary Consultant at Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai
TAKE REGULAR MEDICATIONS
"It is important to maintain compliance with your medications and get regular check-ups at the intervals specified by your cardiologist. Do not take these tests lightly. As a lot of your medications would need to be adjusted based on their results," says Dr Lanjewar.