On World Heart Day, Sept 19, 2019: At the Manipal Hospital conference room noted tiatrist, actor, comedian and “heart hero” inaugurated a series of talks on heart care and advocated laughter as a great stress-buster! Others who participated included Dr Ravindra (left), Manipal Hospital Unit Head Manish Trivedi (right) and Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay (in checked shirt).

By Our Special Correspondent

SEPTEMBER 29 was World Heart Day and there were quite a few functions in Goa to focus on the growing incidence of heart disease. At the Manipal Hospital there were talks, CPR demonstrations and special package offers for whoever wished to check up on the health status of their heart, the heart being the only organ in the body most of us get emotional about!
Speaking on the subject of the heart and how we need to respect it more, Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay made no bones commenting that happiness is knowing you have a healthy heart, so take care of it today before you find yourself in trouble. Stress, he warned, plays an important role because stress hormones and free radicals damage the inside lining of our arteries, “In China strokes may be No.1 killer but in India we are more prone to heart disease…the heart doesn’t stop beating, pumping four to five liters of blood around the body every minute, 50% of heart disease is from blockages and that is quite significant.”
Be conscious and educated about symptoms building up like angina pain which comes and goes on exertion and later on even unstable angina pain when one is doing nothing but seated, “Do regular check up for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, quit smoking, deal with stress which is something we don’t how to measure yet…it has been found that plaque starts building up in the cardiovascular and arterial system from the first decade of life itself, from the age of two years…25% of all heart attacks are silent, a quarter of all heart attacks in the world happen without symptoms.” Family history and genes play a role but bad lifestyle habits play a far larger role in heart disease so that’s where to begin if you love your heart.
Several heart studies have been done beginning with the main Framington Study of 1948 which detailed risk factors like the diet we eat which is lacking in nutrition and full of adulteration, as also reduction of physical exercise. It has been proved that improvement of diet with inclusion of legumes, vegetables, greens, fruit…makes a difference for the better. The worst fats, Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay confirmed are the transfats, “they cause mass havoc, also recycling of oil…I would say don’t even eat out, or carry your own tiffin from home.” One heart study revealed how the intake of alcohol does affect the pumping power of the heart, when the cerebral blood pressure becomes weaker. He also added obesity as a risk factor for heart disease, if you are more than 10 to 30% more than normal body weight get to work immediately to lose weight, go cycling, swimming, just walk… Indians are the most inactive people in the world!
Other things to remember: Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases HDL (that is the good lipids in blood). What you eat is the key to diabetes, go easy on refined carbohydrates and include more fiber by way of dal-roti, millet roti, vegetables and salads with every meal, “India is next to China in diabetes.” All this and much more, the good doctor who graduated from the Armed Forces Medical College (Pune) but also says he is from Jamshedpur (having moved around some) shared, “I am a Bengali and go back to roots in Bengali culture where we soak rice overnight and it is called panta bhat… this rice is very energizing. A good diet would be lots of fruit, vegetables, roti, some red rice…”
It was an altogether interesting talk followed by accompanying presentations, including one by Dr Jyoti Kusnur who observed that so many angiographies and angioplasties are done nowadays, it’s an indication of how heart disease is growing in our society. She used the analogy of how the arterial system in the body is like a network of highways, wide roads, gradually becoming crowded streets and lanes…we must strive to keep our arteries free from plaque with dietary changes and exercise, adding a reminder that “potachi weight should be of concern, while muscle weight is good!”

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