World Heart Month: Cardiologists suggest physically active lifestyle

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS): September is observed as 'Heart Month' every year. During this month a lot of activities are organised to sensitise people about heart health and the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in the fight against cardiac diseases.

However, as the awareness activities get over, most people fail to keep up the momentum and lean back to their routine inactive lifestyle. At the conclusion of World Heart Month, cardiologists have unanimously highlighted the importance of an active lifestyle and activities like stair climbing for indicative assessment and maintaining heart health.

#heart2heartchallengeIndia is an initiative that urges people to climb stairs in one minute for heart health. Maintaining momentum in such initiatives can play a pivotal role in adopting active lifestyle habits at a mass level for better heart health.

"Heart attack and stroke account for 85 per cent of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)-related mortality. One of the leading behavioural risk factors is physical inactivity and lack of exercise. Hence, climbing stairs is one of the many forms of exercise that has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for one's heart. The stair climbing test is an easy way to check one's heart health at no cost. The 'Heart2Heart' campaign is an initiative that needs to be propagated in India to prevent future cardiac problems," said Jamshed J. Dalal, Director, Centre for Cardiac Sciences, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute, Mumbai.

Ajay Mahajan, Professor and Head of Cardiology at KEM hospital, Mumbai, said, "The overall mortality of heart attacks is 13 per cent and it is higher in women than the men. Compounding problems are the fact that sudden cardiac death occurs for 10 per cent in age groups less than 40 years. This leads to a loss of productivity and has a profound socio-economic impact. A large-scale primary prevention initiative dealing with lifestyle changes of regular exercise, consumption of a balanced and healthy diet and tobacco cessation is required. Training of personnel in resuscitation is also needed. To spread awareness, the 'Heart2Heart' campaign 'Healthy Heart' challenge is the need of the hour."

P.K. Hazra, Cardiologist, Head of the Department, AMRI hospitals, Kolkata, said, "People in India are genetically predisposed to develop coronary heart diseases. But the lack of awareness and access to preventive care often leads to late diagnosis and poor outcomes among the patients. Understanding the risk factors and seeking preventive and timely care to manage heart disease calls for raising awareness among the masses. It is very important to understand that the role of exercise (get-moving) plays a pivotal role in debunking the onset of heart diseases. Any form of exercise is beneficial for heart health like climbing stairs, walking to the bus-stop, cycling, according to studies."

C.N. Manjunath, Cardiologist, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bangalore, said, "The mission of the European Society of Cardiology was to devise a method that is both simple and free of cost for determining the health of an individual's heart. People who can climb four flights of stairs in one minute have a significantly reduced risk of having abnormal cardiac function. The findings add legitimacy to the concept of using the stair test as a quick and easy method for individuals to evaluate the state of their cardiovascular health. It has the potential to assist in preventing CVDs, which are major causes of mortality in India. However, if a person is getting chest pain or a burning sensation while climbing stairs, it could be an early sign of blockage of the artery."

A. George Koshy, Cardiologist, Tiruvananthapuram, said, "India has one of the highest burdens of CVDs worldwide as every fourth death has been occurring due to it. Hypertensive cardiovascular disease can lead to heart failure, heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths. People with uncontrolled blood pressure, blood sugar, high blood cholesterol and unhealthy lifestyles like smoking, junk food and lack of physical exercise are at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and consequent disabilities at a young age. In this direction, the 'Heart2Heart' campaign of climbing stairs to check heart health is a much-needed stimulus toward spreading awareness around heart health, and reducing the incidence of heart diseases."

The conclusion of Heart Month should be seen as the beginning of a new year that sees maximum people adopting healthy heart habits.

#heart2heartchallengeindia can be a torch bearer that has motivated thousands of people to take the challenge of climbing six-steps in a minute and adopt stair climbing in their routine lives.



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