When we get our hearts ‘broken,’ we retreat into a life of solitude. We keep our ‘hearts’ tucked away in a bid to prevent them from any more damage. The question is, what measures do we take to keep our physical heart safe? What do we do to ensure that our hearts are healthy and can keep us kicking until old age? Heart Health is a very important aspect of life and should not be taken-for-granted. So what steps should you take to ensure that you are keeping healthy?
In the just concluded World Heart Month, Philips in collaboration with The Kenya Red Cross Society held a panel discussion to discuss matters revolving heart health. This came after a two-day campaign called ‘Back to Rhythm’ that aimed to create public awareness of the growing incidences of cardiac health. The panel that consisted of Dr. Robert Mathenge a cardiologist and the chairman of Heart Attack Concern Kenya, Susan Musilu Thinji a dietician working at Bonsana Nutrition and Wellness, Arnold Mose a fitness instructor at Mofit Fitness and a heart condition survivor Samuel who has lived with his condition for 30 years. They highlighted ways one can keep their heart fit and healthy
Checking your diet
The main goal of keeping our hearts healthy is to keep our arteries clean. This is ensuring that the foods we ingest are healthy and free of excess fats that may clog our arteries. Eating foods that are low in carbs help protect our blood vessels from plaque build-up that is associated with heart disease. These are foods which include; vegetables and fruits. These not only protect your heart but are a source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Susan Misulu the dietician, however, said that one does not have to stay away from meat products. It is healthy to add protein to your meals- in moderation. One can even opt to switch their red meat with white meat such as fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent clogging or heart arteries. She also advised against overconsuming foods like white bread, sausages, and bacon for our breakfast meals. One can eat their leftover from their previous night’s supper which is a much healthier option.
Contrary to common utterances, your heart does not love. It is a muscle and just like any muscle, it needs to keep fit to effectively carry out its role. According to Heart Foundation, being physically inactive increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. Include physical exercise in your daily routine. It does not even have to be a strenuous activity. Small activities such as a daily walk, gardening, using the stairs instead of the lift or a morning run is enough to keep your heart engaged.
For people whose work may result in sitting down all day, Arnold Mose advised on continuously engaging in physical activity in whatever form. It could be walking home from work if the distance is not too big, playing with your children after work, cooking etc. Anything to keep your body moving. The key idea is to ensure that your body’s muscle content is greater than the fat content to keep your arteries unclogged and safe.
Learning about Heart Health
The biggest hindrance to heart health is awareness. Many people may not know the causes, prevention measures or how to handle heart attack situations. In a bid to keep healthy, we cannot ignore the existence of heart conditions and disorders. According to Dr. Mathenge, these are situations that are inescapable and are caused by various factors such as genes, body development in the early stages and environmental factors. People should do their research and should be privy of the knowledge of their family medical history.
These disorders and conditions once caught early can be corrected or managed to allow the patient to live a healthy happier life. In the case of a heart attack, people should know how to react. Reader’s Digest shows us how a heart attack looks like depending on race or gender. Symptoms of a heart attack may include pain in the chest and left arm, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or lightheadedness. The Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) are portable devices that are able to treat cardiac arrests through defibrillation. In the event that an AED is not available, chewing an aspirin according to Dr. Mathenge can open up 30% of the arteries before any serious medical assistance is availed to a patient.
People are increasingly succumbing to heart-related issues on a daily basis. Make it a point to change your lifestyle for the better. Most heart issues caused by poor lifestyle choices present themselves later in life. So be smart and make smart decisions.