When we talk about heart health, we often think of the elderly. Studies, unfortunately, show that Indians are at risk for heart disease at least a decade earlier than their Western counterparts. This means that there is an increasing prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people as young as 30 years old. India already accounts for a fifth of deaths worldwide, caused by cardiovascular disease. And this is reflected in the younger population as well, with an age-standardized death rate of 272 per 100,000 population compared to the global average of 235.
This increased risk of heart disease in young Indians is due to a combination of inherited genes as well as environmental factors. Unfortunately, these environmental factors only worsened the risk over time. Working long hours, often in stressful jobs, and sleeping less has become the new normal in our lives. Modern working setups involve sitting a lot and not exercising, which can almost double the risk of poor heart health.
A 2019 study by Saffolalife found that 58% of people in large cities, between the ages of 30 and 40, who don’t exercise regularly are at higher risk for heart disease. Despite this, 92 percent of them do not consider lack of exercise among the top 3 risk factors for heart disease. This lack of awareness further compounds the problem.
Among younger people, we are seeing a growing awareness of the importance of diet in maintaining good health. But the reality is also that after a long and tiring day it has often become easier to order and give in to unhealthy food cravings. With less exercise and frequent eating of junk food, the risk of belly fat increases, which is another major risk factor for heart disease.
Fortunately, there is good news. Taking care of your heart is not difficult. Once you are aware of the risk factors, you can take the right steps to reduce their impact. Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can really make a difference. The most important thing, however, is to be proactive; the changes we make in our 30s and 40s can go a long way in keeping our heart healthy.
In your 30s, it’s a good idea to test your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and general health every year. This can allow you to be aware of the symptoms earlier and corrective action can be taken immediately. Develop healthy lifestyle habits like brisk walking for about twenty minutes a day, at least three times a week. Try to take breaks between work hours for deep breathing exercises. Control stress with exercise and yoga, rather than emotionally / stressed out eating or staying awake late and staring excessively. Make simple, easy changes to your diet, like eating a serving of raw fruits and vegetables as a snack each day. Try to include heart-healthy ingredients like nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocados, and oats. Using a heart-healthy oil can also be a big and easy change you can make.
Remember that good lifestyle habits developed early on can help reduce heart risk. So make heart health a priority today.
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