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World Heart Day: Here’s how to keep your heart healthy as you age

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WORLD HEART DAY

New Delhi, Sep 29: While advancing age increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), living a healthy life from your youth may help prevent the disease, which is touted as the number one killer in both men and women globally as well as in India, experts suggest.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CVDs (coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension) contribute to 45 percent of all non-communicable disease-related deaths followed by chronic respiratory disease (22 percent), cancers (12 percent) and diabetes (three percent).

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Nearly 80 percent of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable, but the preventive measures should begin early.

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“Preventive measures like avoiding smoking, taking healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining an ideal weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels should begin from a very young age,” Tapan Ghose, Director and Head, Department of Cardiology, at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, told IANS.

Heart disease is mainly caused by the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls — known as atherosclerosis. This build-up begins from a young age and leads to blockage where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the requirement of the body’s tissues. This results in various disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

Typical symptoms include “chest pain or angina which comes during exercise and is relieved by rest, breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, epigastric pain which patients usually attribute to acidity”, Ghose added.

Some people also have a feeling of upper abdomen fullness, bloating and sour eructations (or belches) which are dismissed as being caused by acidity but are risk factors.

Earlier this year a study, published in the journal JACC: Heart Failure, revealed that preventing the development of hypertension, obesity and diabetes in mid-life — between the age of 45 and 55 years — can result in an 86 percent lower risk of heart failure throughout the remainder of life.

Prevention of these three risk factors by ages 45 and 55 years may substantially prolong heart failure-free survival, decrease heart failure-related morbidity and reduce the public health impact of heart failure.

Men at age 45 years without any of the three risk factors lived an average of 10.6 years longer free of heart failure, while women at age 45 without any of the three risk factors lived an average of 14.9 years longer without heart failure, the research showed.

Although these traditional risk factors are same in both elderly men and women, the symptoms of heart disease appear to be different in them.

“While men have more incidence of heart attack as their first symptom, women have more atypical symptoms like feeling tired, lack of energy, easy fatigability. Depression can also be a symptom of heart disease in women,” explained Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant (Cardiology) at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Women also tend to have a slightly delayed onset of heart disease compared to men.

“They also have some unique risk factors like relatively high testosterone levels prior to menopause, increasing hypertension during menopause, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis,” Ghose noted.

A proper diet that is rich in low or saturated transfats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils, like mustard oil may help decrease the risk of heart disease in old age.

Due to its ideal ratio of fatty acids and natural antioxidants, mustard oil is among the healthiest edible oils.

“Mustard oil contains glucosinolate that fights microbes and has powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory powers; hence it is a lot more than just a cooking medium,” said Umesh Verma, spokesperson of P Mark Mustard Oil.

“A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that switching to mustard oil as a cooking medium reduced the risks of coronary artery disease by more than 70 percent,” said Vivek Puri, Managing Director of Puri Oil Mills.

Moreover, reducing tobacco use, engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day of the week, eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and limiting salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day, can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

According to American Heart Association recommendations, at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week, or a combination of the two may boost cardiovascular health.

Apart from these primary prevention measures, proper screening in both men and women at regular intervals is imperative.

“Men at 35 years of age and women at 40 years should get their base level health check. Any deranged parameters should be treated with lifestyle changes and appropriate medicines at the earliest,” Goel stressed.

IANS

Health

6 herbs to include in your daily diet for a healthier, happier you

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herbs neem Haridra

New Delhi, April 23: Focusing on health in the hectic and stressful lives that we lead today is becoming difficult. Incorporating relevant herbs in your daily diet is the first step towards a healthier you.

Ayurveda texts and modern research say that herbs contain compounds that have beneficial health properties that can help prevent many lifestyle disorders and rejuvenate our bodies.

Dr Shruthi M. Hegde, Ayurveda Expert, The Himalaya Drug Company, suggests incorporating the following herbs in your daily diet to practice preventive wellness and take a concrete step towards maintaining good health.

Tulsi: Popularly known as “The Queen of Herbs”, it yields beneficial results for respiratory wellness. It has compounds which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and expectorant properties. Tulsi helps modulate healthy immune response and supports early recovery from respiratory conditions. Use it to get relief from a cough and cold, especially during seasonal changes, when your body is particularly prone to such respiratory ailments.

Ashvagandha: This herb contains rejuvenating properties, and being an adaptogen, helps cope with stress, reduces harmful effects of long-term stress on the body, and promotes healthy sleep. This makes it particularly useful in our stressful lives, where good work-life balance is often difficult to maintain.

Triphala: It’s difficult to always consume healthy and hygienically prepared food in our hectic lifestyle, making digestive issues a common problem. Triphala helps promote overall digestive wellness in a number of ways. It acts as an effective colon cleanser, regularises normal bowel movements, and aids healthy digestion.

Neem: This helps fight acne by inhibiting the bacteria that causes acne growth. The herb helps promote skin wellness, which becomes even more important during summer, when the skin is more prone to acne breakouts and inflammation. It helps rejuvenate your skin, and prevents the recurrence of acne and blemishes.

Haridra: This herb contains beneficial inflammation-relieving properties. It boosts cell health through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping improve overall health. This makes it a potent tool in your preventive wellness toolkit, helping you overcome a number of health problems before they even have a chance to make an appearance

Guduchi: This herb supports the immune system and helps fight against infections by increasing the effectiveness of disease-fighting white blood cells. Including this herb in your daily diet will help increase your body’s resistance to stress and illness.

Make a commitment to getting healthier and staying fit by including these health-boosting herbs in your daily diet. Regular usage of these herbs in addition to other activities such as exercising and consuming a balanced diet will lead to a healthier, happier you.

IANS

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Heart patients who walk faster hospitalised less

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Heart

London, April 22 (IANS) Increasing the pace of walking may bring some added benefits as researchers have found that faster walking patients with heart disease are hospitalised less.

“The faster the walking speed, the lower the risk of hospitalisation and the shorter the length of hospital stay,” said study author Carlotta Merlo, a researcher at the University of Ferrara in Italy.

“Since reduced walking speed is a marker of limited mobility, which has been linked to decreased physical activity, we assume that fast walkers in the study are also fast walkers in real life,” she added.

The study was conducted in 1,078 hypertensive patients, of whom 85 per cent also had coronary heart disease and 15 per cent also had valve disease.

A total of 359 patients were identified as slow walkers, 362 intermediate and 357 fast walkers.

The researchers recorded the number of all-cause hospitalisations and length of stay of the participants over the next three years.

During the three year period, 182 of the slow walkers (51 per cent) had at least one hospitalisation, compared to 160 (44 per cent) of the intermediate walkers, and 110 (31 per cent) of the fast walkers, according to the study published in the European Jo

urnal of Preventive Cardiology.

The slow, intermediate and fast walking groups spent a total of 4,186, 2,240, and 990 days in hospital over the three years, respectively.

The average length of hospital stay for each patient was 23, 14, and 9 days for the slow, intermediate and fast walkers, respectively.

Each 1 km/hour increase in walking speed resulted in a 19 per cent reduction in the likelihood of being hospitalised during the three-year period.

Compared to the slow walkers, fast walkers had a 37 per cent lower likelihood of hospitalisation in three years, the findings showed.

“Walking is the most popular type of exercise in adults. It is free, does not require special training, and can be done almost anywhere. Even short, but regular, walks have substantial health benefits. Our study shows that the benefits are even greater when the pace of walking is increased,” Merlo said.

IANS

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Treat sunburn, improve gastro immune system with yogurt

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yogurt dahi

New Delhi, April 21: Yogurt, the versatile dairy product, is filled with nutrition and is equally useful for skin and hair. Treat sunburns, acne and improve your immunity with yogurt, say experts.

Himanshu Chadha, Founder, APS Cosmetoofood, and Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist and Dietician, have listed the goodness of yogurt:

* Treat sunburn: Spread yogurt on the affected area, leave it for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Yogurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

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* Treat acne with yogurt as it contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Rub a dab of the creamy yogurt onto acne-prone areas. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

* Yogurt is a great ingredient for a hair conditioner. It has moisturising properties which helps repair dry and damaged hair.

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Take a cup of yogurt and whip it. Apply it on your scalp, hair and hair ends by massaging it well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it rest for 20 minutes, then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

* Using yogurt, which is full of nutrients that are good for your hair, can help stop hair fall. Due to the presence of vitamin B5 and D, yogurt helps nourish the hair follicles.

A mixture of pepper and curd used daily for washing the hair helps in reducing hair fall. Curd and Amla powder can be mixed together to make a paste that can be applied on the scalp and hair to reduce hair loss.

* Since it is a well-known probiotic food, it helps to flourish the healthy bacteria in your gut which can improve the gastro immune system. Along with this, it aids in digestion by reducing the side effects of the irritant stomach such as diarrhoea, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.

* Strengthen your bones by adding yogurt to your everyday diet. It will add that daily dose of calcium which your body requires for stronger bones as well as for regulating the bone mineral density.

By having a diet in a combination with calcium and vitamin D, it can work as a treatment for osteoporosis.

* Yogurt works perfectly for women. It is often advised for women to consume freshly prepared yogurt in their diet considering they are powerful for fighting against the yeast infections such as Candida which can be a causing trouble to a lot of women.

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The bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt, kills the yeast infections and improves health in the longer run.

* Consuming probiotic yogurt helps reduce inflammation and improve the overall body immune response to counter with several viral or gut related infections and illness.

Along with this, yogurt also helps in increasing the absorption of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

IANS

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