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Is Your Heart Under Attack?

by Dr. Shirish Hiremath on  July 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Nothing shocks us more than hearing of some friend or acquaintance being struck down in the prime of life by a -SUDDEN HEART ATTACK.
 Is Your Heart Under Attack?
Is Your Heart Under Attack?
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It's happening all over - and in India with ever increasing frequency. Events like these bring us jarringly face to face with our own mortality. But are these attacks really sudden?           

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This article offers insight and hope--with a shortlist of the major causes of a heart attack--and tells you what you can do to avoid it.

Hypertension   

A recent study INTESTROKE, presented at the World Congress of Cardiology (WCC) 2010 identified modifiable risk factors that accounted for 90% of disease. The study also showed that relatively simple measures, such as blood-pressure control, could reduce the burden of heart disease.

Sometimes described as the silent killer, hypertension is by far the major cause of heart failure; which, when you think of it, is extremely regrettable, because knowing your pressure does not call for complicated or expensive blood tests or analysis of bodily fluids.

It takes just a couple of minutes, and with modern medical equipment can be measured in almost any setting: pharmacies, impromptu health-check camps or, with a little instruction, even at home.

(Remember, blood pressure 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal, anything above either of the two figures means you're at risk.)

Other factors   

Other heart related risk factors include-

• smoking
• abdominal obesity
• diet
• alcohol intake
• physical activity - or more precisely lack of it-
• diabetes mellitus and
• psychosocial factors

All these together with hypertension account for 90% of all strokes.

Statistically speaking, the Intestroke study showed that of the major risk factors, hypertension carries a 34.6 risk percentile, making it by far the most serious.

Abdominal fat has long been associated with cardiac problems and the easiest gauge is the waist -to- hip ratio. Statistics show that a 'heart -stopping' 26.5% of the population is at risk of contacting heart disease due to excessive abdominal fat.

Smoking scores a critical 18.9% making it another factor to watch out for.

 Lack of physical activity and ratio of apolipoprotein B to A1 account for 28.5 & 24.9 percentage of population at risk respectively.

Of the other risk factors, alcohol intake and diabetes account for 3.8% and 5% respectively while psychological factors such as stress and depression put 4.6 to 5.2% of the population at risk.

Mother knows best

So what can you do to keep your heart healthy? This is one instance when medical science and conventional wisdom are in perfect agreement; Do what your mum always nagged you to do -- quit smoking, lose weight and eat healthy. Prevention is, any day better than cure!
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