Saturday, February 14, 2015
The Heart of the matter (rather, matter of the heart)!
But if the heart flutters or skips a beat in 40’s (& not for the same reason!), then it is a matter of great concern! And what better time than Valentine’s Day to shed light on this grey area!
And why not? Globalization, convergence of IT & communication industries have created millions of new jobs, new opportunities all over the world but the competition also has increased exponentially. Time zone for some countries (like India, Philippines) is proving to be the boon (for getting the offshore/back-office work) and also the bane (need to work in US time zone while living in India) for millions of employees in IT & ITES/BPO industry. For most, experience is becoming a liability at some point of time in the career. (But that would be a different topic of discussion) . You could be in IT, healthcare, BFSI, manufacturing or entertainment industry, one common thread amongst all of working population is the increased stress level. And the sad part is, a majority of the workforce is not even aware of how that stress is taking a toll on their health! And this is happening in many cases right from early 30’s! Heart-attack is proving to be the number one silent killer amongst all life-style related diseases. This article is a sincere attempt to create the awareness (& that’s why I’m posting this non-technical article on my blog as an exception) & provide some help.
· First things first – Once you reach 40, get your haemogram (including lipid profile, glucose, T3, T4, TSH, vit. B12 & D2/D3) done every year without fail. It is ok to be ridiculed as hypochondriac than repent when it is too late.. And if the doctor prescribes, go for ECG, stress test (& 2D-Doppler or angiography etc. in rare cases).
· Let’s dispel some misconceptions - Being slim or underweight doesn’t mean you won’t have high cholesterol. Yes, in most cases high cholesterol could be due to dietary habits and or stress, but it could also be hereditary. Or, your body just could be creating more cholesterol (& which you could be blissfully unaware of). Find out your body fat as a percentage of your weight.
· Beware of stress - While we can’t eliminate stress, we should be at least aware of it & try to minimize it. Spending quality time with family, engaging in hobbies (like gardening), playing with kids & pets , soothing music, watching comedy movies are some of the proven ways of lowering stress. Learn to enjoy happiness out of little things in life; celebrate even small achievements with near ones. Acid test to check whether you are under stress –Did you laugh heartily, at least once last week, if not today?
· Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince & dinner like a pauper - If one follows this advice, more than 50% of the battle against cardiovascular diseases is won! But in South Asia (& mostly India), people follow the exactly opposite routine. They eat no breakfast, some working lunch & a very heavy dinner (mostly after 9 pm), watch some TV program & then sleep. No wonder, all that food gets converted into fat in no time. And as expected, that spicy biryani or pizza (& a whole of lot of oily/spicy stuff we indulge in), alcohol & tobacco are certainly NO-NO.
· Quantity & quality of sleep – This is very important. You could be running for hours on treadmill or running marathons regularly and having the best of healthy food intake but if you sleep only for 4-5 hours on a daily basis, you’re certainly increasing chances of heart attack! 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a MUST for working adults. Believe me, the old gem of ‘early to bed, early to rise’ will never go out of fashion!
· Cardiovascular exercise – You need to sweat it out for the sweet victory over cholesterol. Depending on your age & weight, you should choose at least one of the cardio exercises like 45 minutes brisk walking/jogging/treadmill, swimming or aerobic dance. Should do this for at least 4 days a week.
I’ve put above observations out of my own experience. But what works for John, may not work for Jane or even James! So, consult a good cardiologist if the lipid profile shows aberrations & follow the medication/instructions/exercise. And of course, change your life style, as most probably s/he would advise you!
Last but not the least… Happy Valentine’s Day J