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Hot weather increases the risk of heart attacks. This article looks at the research and tells what you can do to prevent heart disease.
The first indications of dehydration observed are heat cramps, which may be followed by heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The body tries to lose heat through increased sweating and too much sweating leads to dehydration, which reduces the volume of blood. This makes the heart pump harder to circulate the reduced amount of blood around the body, which can induce a heart attack. Dehydration also results in thickening of the blood and enhances the proneness to clotting. People who have coronary stents implanted or have had valve replacement should have plenty of fluids to avoid clotting around the stent or the valve. Fluids, however does not mean cool beer and alcohol. Alcohol can cause dehydration, so it is advisable to consume lemonade with salt and sugar, water and sports drinks that have vital salts.
The first indication of heat stress is heat cramps, with symptoms of muscle spasm in the legs and abdomen. This is generally accompanied with excessive sweating. Drinking fluids and massaging the muscle in spasm relieves the pain. This is followed by heat exhaustion in which the person starts to sweat, feel dizzy, develop a rapid pulse, experience a throbbing pressure in the head, get a flushed appearance or experiences nausea. If the person is not moved to a cool place and given liquids to counter dehydration, this condition can rapidly progress to a heat stroke. The symptoms consist of skin becoming warm and dry with complete absence of sweating or a rapid drop in the blood pressure, confusion or unconsciousness.
Early symptoms of heat injury may vary with people, so steps should be taken to lower the body temperature at the first signs of headache, dizziness, faintness, nausea, cramps or increased palpitations. Feeling thirsty is a delayed response to dehydration, so one should make sure that that one has adequate water before stepping out in the heat. According to American Heart Association, people with heart disease and elderly people should be checked on at least twice a day during a heat wave and observed closely for signs of heat stress. They should stay in a cool place as far as possible, drink water before stepping out in the heat and getting their prescription for medicines adjusted to suit the extreme temperature in the summer months.
Statistics present a dismal picture in India. About 3 million people die of heart disease and stroke every year. 30% of all deaths are caused by heart disease and stroke. 118 million have hypertension which will double to 213 million by 2025. About 10 % 0f people over 20 years of age in urban India have heart disease.
Steps to lower heart disease:
Genetics play a very important role in development of cardiovascular diseases but there a number of risk factors which can be modified. With a little effort, one can eliminate or control them. Certain strategies can be used to minimize heart risk:
Most people consume too much salt in their diet. A low intake of sodium can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Nutritionists recommend eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day; six or more servings of grain products; fat free and low fat milk products; fish, beans; skinless poultry and lean meats. Fats and oils such as ghee and cooking oils should be consumed in less quantity.
Foods that can decrease the onset of heart diseases
If taken daily in right amounts, these foods can help fight heart diseases:
Thus foods can really help have a healthy heart in a healthy body.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued guidelines for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by dietary and other lifestyle practices. One of its general principles deals with reducing the risks of coronary disease by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL). The major components that raise LDL are saturated fats, trans saturated fats and high cholesterol foods. Dietary factors that lower bad cholesterol include vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and to a lesser extent soluble fibre and soya protein. Vegetable oils like safflower oil are rich in PUFA while oils like canola oil, olive oil and groundnut oil are rich in MUFA. Saturated fat should be minimized.
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