Devi Shetty’s advice on keeping heart healthy
Dr Devi Shetty is one of the world's leading cardiologists. He is credited with making surgery affordable to India's poor, which is just one of his incredible achievements. This is an interview taken by WIPRO for the benefits of the company's employees; however, the transcript is useful for people of all ages beyond the boundary of India!
What are the rules for a person to take care of his or her heart?
First, make habit of a diet with less of carbohydrate, more of protein, and less of oil.
Second, exercise which includes walk for half an hour, at least five days a week, avoiding lifts and being sedentary for long periods.
Third, quit smoking, if you have the habit of smoking.
Fourth, keep your body weight under control.
And fifth, keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control.
It's shocking that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we put this into perspective?
This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend people over 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
Are heart diseases hereditary?
What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.
Is walking better than jogging or more intensive exercise required to maintain a healthy heart?
Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints.
Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Does cholesterol accumulate right from an early age or after 30?
Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?
Excess salt from junk food can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Excess fat can lead to hypercholesterolemia, along with various other consequences.
How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Control your diet, walk and eat walnuts.
Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
Yoga certainly helps.
Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Fruit and vegetables are the best, and oil is the worst.
Which oil is better: groundnut, sunflower, or olive?
All oil is bad for health.
Which routine check-up one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Routine blood test includes checking sugar and cholesterol levels. Check BP, and treadmill test after an echo.
What are the first aid steps to be taken when someone is having a heart attack?
Put the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and take the person to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.
How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and due to gastric trouble?
It is extremely difficult to identify unless an ECG scan is undertaken.
What is the main cause of heart problems in young people aged between 30 and 40?
Sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food and a lack of exercise. Not to mention that Indian, Bangladeshi and the people of this sub-continent are genetically three times more vulnerable to heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
Sometimes, due to hectic schedules, we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing household chores or climbing the stairs work as a substitute for exercise?
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.
Is there a relationship between heart problems and blood sugar?
Yes. Diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Diet, exercise, take prescribed medication when you're supposed to, keep cholesterol under control, regulate blood pressure and keep weight down.
What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will choose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walking, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes and lifestyles.