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Thumbay Hospital Fujairah Creates Awareness On Adopting Heart -Healthy Lifestyle Habits (23 August 2021)

Busts myths about impact of heart diseases on daily life and its symptoms

In an attempt to create mass awareness on heart-healthy lifestyle practices, Thumbay Hospital Fujairah conducted a very informative and engaging session encouragingpeople to change to healthier habits to live longer and disease free.

The virtual event, organized as part of Thumbay Group’s ‘Online Summer Healthcare Festival’ also answered several queries by the participants besides busting numerous myths surrounding heart conditions, exercise, eating habits etc.

When asked if people think heart disease impact daily life, 98% people responded in affirmation whereas only 2% thought otherwise.

Breaking the misconception, Dr. Abdul Rahuman, Consultant Cardiology at Thumbay Hospital Fujairah, speaking at the interactive event, highlighted that “Number of deaths due to heart attacks have reduced drastically compared to 1950s and 60s where 40-50% patients died within a month after the attack and all this can be attributed to the advancements in the medical field, technology, surgical intervention, modern medicine and proper management techniques.

95% of patients are able to resume their daily life after a heart attack and even in patients with heart pump failure 70-80% can live normally with medical support. Clearly very few people know that with appropriate guidance and timely intervention, it is indeed possible to live a completely healthy life even with heart conditions.”

Even though the death rate has come down but the burden and risk factors remain alarmingly high due to unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. The effects show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity.

Dr Rahuman advises to adopt heart healthy habits which can make a big difference in the overall wellbeing of a person as the risk of heart diseases can be significantly reduced by quitting smoking, avoiding trans-fats, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure, eating nutritious food and getting good quality of 7-8 hours of sleep.

Giving interesting insights about how quitting smoking can help people gain better control of their health, he stated that within just 20 minutes after quitting people have seen heart rate and blood pressure drop significantly. Whereas damaged nerve endings begin to regenerate after 48 hours. Talking about the numerous benefits of quitting smoking, he stressed that it can lower the risk of 12 types of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as of cardiovascular diseases.

Talking about secondhand smoke, he said it is like a plague and should be avoided since studies have shown to increase the risk of developing heart disease in non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke by 25-30%. Citing example of UK where considerable drop in acute heart diseases were noticed after government ban, Doctor underlined that even chronic smokers who quit after 10 years of smoking can cut down the chances of developing lung cancer by 50%. COVID pneumonia is also found to be more pronounced in COPD patients due to chronic smoking.

Emphasizing the benefits of exercise, he endorsed that adults must get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous –intensity physical activity, or equivalent combination each week. Children and adolescents to also remain active for at least 60 minutes every day.

Regular physical activity increases physical and mental performance, boosts energy and mood, aids in better quality of sleep, helps build stronger muscles and bones, good for cardiovascular and metabolic performance, improves blood circulation and delivery of oxygen to muscles hence promotes overall health and wellbeing of an individual.

Opting for regular graded exercise is preferable while it’s equally important to choose what suits you best as per your age and general health condition. Heart patients shouldn’t do vigorous weight training and must exercise with caution. It is observed that many people have died during their gym sessions as they over exert their bodies without assessing the requirements.

Guiding people on the getting the right balance of different fats to keep cholesterol levels in check and heart healthy, Doctor advised to avoid industrial-made trans-fat, limit saturated fats, and replace with essential polyunsaturated fats.

Trans fat are man-made fat and include foods like frozen pizza, vegetable oils, margarine, baked foods, processed foods etc. Experts estimate that for every 1 percent of energy that comes from trans-fats you increase the risk of heart disease by 12-13%.

Saturated fats include food items like butter, cheese, red meat, pork, baked foods, milk, coconut oil etc. Natural saturated fats found mostly in animal foods are controversial but most experts agree that consuming large amounts raises the risk of developing many diseases. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are the only fats we need from our diet. They are found in seeds, nuts, beans, sea veg and some specifies of fishes. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats vital for brain function, muscle movement, vitamin and mineral absorption and inflammation.

Diabetics should consume foods with low glycemic index. Fasting can also work as an essential tool in regeneration of trillions of body cells as it can promote autophagy – a vital process through which body’s cells clean out any unnecessary or damaged components thus providing abundant positive health benefits. Depending on the individual’s metabolism, significant autophagy may take two to four days of fasting in humans. 

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