The 24th of September is the World Heart Day. The theme for the year 'How young is your heart?' is to motivate all, especially the youth, to follow a health-friendly regime and be the proud owner of an ever- youthful heart.
A healthy heart is the foundation to a healthy living. Today's hectic scenario, with its 'dog-eat-dog' trends is antagonistic to a healthy life. The booming IT industry, with its promises of a blazing tomorrow, has greatly appealed to the average Indian. But by promoting a culture in India that is essentially pro-western, it has, in reality, changed the face of the country forever, even in terms of health. Long working hours, working night shifts, meeting deadlines and addiction to success, along with a decline in physical activity, consuming junk food and new- found affluence has put India on the road of becoming the 'sick' capital of the world.
How does our present life affect our heart and our life? According to Dr.Anitha Pedarala, family physician, the sleep pattern of these employees who work shifts or late hours is definitely compromised. There is a disturbance in the internal biological clock, which is attuned to darkness and sunlight. As a result, these workers may suffer from sleep disorders such as Insomnia or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Several individuals overcome their problems by adjusting to it. However, many of them succumb to the ill effects and develop chronic problems, which impairs their memory, blunts their senses and heightens stress, which in turn affects their ability to function normally.
Another anathema of modern life, obesity, paves way for more misfortunes like diabetes and hypertension. This 'terrible trio', we understand, is the stepping-stone to a premature death. India being the diabetes capital of the world has its fair share of juvenile diabetics. Childhood obesity is on the rise and there is a significant increase in the number of young people who suffer from cardio vascular diseases. Obesity can also cause sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea that brings about hypoxia, which results in myocardial infarction or heart attack.
But if darkness is here, will sunshine be far behind? The remedies for these near-fatal maladies are within the reach of every individual. 'Minding the body by mending the mind' is the new-age mantra and modern day life-style gurus are attempting to recapture past glories by reviving time-tested techniques like meditation, 'satwik' diet and yoga. It is important to incorporate certain life-style modifications, by investing a little time in physical exercises, consuming a balanced diet, and by calming the battered mind with stress- busting techniques like meditation or a nature walk. It is important to treasure one's health to retain a youthful heart for life, the value of which is seldom known until it is lost.