A Healthy Heart for a Happy Life

‘Use Heart to Beat Cardiovascular Disease’ was the theme of World Heart Day 2020. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) today is the number one cause of death on the planet.
The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries with it ‘oxygen, fuel, hormones, other compounds, and a host of essential cells. It also whisks away the waste products of metabolism. When the heart stops essential functions fail, some almost instantly.
Given the heart’s never-ending workload, it’s a wonder it keeps performing so well for so long and for so many people! But did you know that the heart can also fail due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, infection, unlucky genes, and some other reasons?
A key problem is atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk inside the arteries. These pockets, called plaque, can limit the flow of blood in the arteries that nourish the heart (the coronary arteries) and other arteries throughout the body. When a plaque breaks apart, it can cause heart attack or stroke.
Although many people develop some form of CVD as they get older, it isn’t inevitable. A healthy lifestyle, especially when adopted at a young age, goes a long way in preventing CVDs. Moreover, while heart-harming trends like high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be nipped in the bud through lifestyle changes and medications, a variety of medications, operations and devices can help support the heart if any damage occurs. So let’s rise to the occasion and have a healthy heart for a happy life!
A catch-all term for all of the diseases affecting the heart and the blood vessels.

Be FAST to Recognize the Sign of a Stroke

Normal brain functions are essential for our day-to- day activities. Any sudden interruption in normal brain function is called a stroke or brain attack. The complexity of the human brain is more than the supercomputer. It is a mystery that has not been solved completely despite tremendous technological advancement.
A stroke occurs when there is a sudden blockage or rupture of brain blood vessels. The sudden blockage is due to pre-existing atherosclerotic disease in neck or brain blood vessels or embolism from a cardiac source. Rupture of the brain blood vessels is caused by high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, aneurysm, or arterio-venous malformation.

Stroke Burden

World Statistics: Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of mortality in the world after ischemic heart disease and cancer. One in six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. Every 6 seconds a stroke kills someone in the world. Approximately 17 million people experience a stroke each year and 6 million of them do not survive. About thirty- three million people have had a stroke and most of them have had residual disabilities.
Statistics in India: In India the cumulative incidence of stroke is 10-15 million patients per year, that is, |.27-2.2 per 1000 persons. Every day nearly 4500 strokes happen all over India. One patient suffers from a stroke every 40 seconds. Each year approximately 4 lakh people die, which means every 4 minute | person dies due to stroke. Stroke is indeed a devastating disease, a major cause of mortality, morbidity and disability globally.

The Two Types of Stroke: Ischemic and Haemorrhagic

Ischemic stroke is the most common type, with approximately 80% cases. It occurs due to a sudden blockage of brain blood vessels either due to deposition of a high level of harmful cholesterol (LDL) in the inner layer of the blood vessels (called thrombotic stroke), or a blood clot may arise from the heart and cause an obstruction in the blood flow of brain blood vessels (called cardioembolic stroke).
Haemorrhagic stroke is the second most common cause, with approximately 20% of cases. It occurs due to rupture of brain blood vessels caused by high blood pressure, high sugar, rupture of an aneurysm, AV malformation, or birth defects in the vessel wall. TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) is also called temporary paralysis, in which the patient recovers within minutes ‘or a few hours without any treatment. However, this condition must be taken seriously as a warning sign of brain stroke.

Risk Factors

People suffering from high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, excessive stress, high LDL cholesterol, high homocysteine, and high triglycerides are susceptible to stroke. Excess smoking, alcohol intake, and tobacco chewing are also risk factors. Congenital heart and valvular heart diseases can also become the cause of stroke, especially in paediatric patients.


Treatment of stroke depends on the type of stroke, time of onset, and affected area of the brain. In the case of ischemic stroke, due to sudden blockage of brain blood vessels, treatment is done by either intravenous clot busters/thrombolysis or neuro- interventional procedure like mechanical thrombectomy, angioplasty or stenting. These procedures are performed by the endovascular technique in the Cath Lab without opening the skull, like cardiac angioplasty Cath Lab procedures.
Intravenous thrombolysis can be done within 4.5 hours from the onset of stroke, and endovascular mechanical thrombectomy within 24 hrs in selected patients. Nearly 2 million neurons lose their functions within one minute of an ischemic stroke. Hence early recognition of stroke symptoms can help in timely initiation of treatment. Treatment for haemorrhagic stroke involves emergency clot removal in order to reduce the brain’s swelling, or the brain bone needs to be removed and reattached after the patient is cured.
Prevention of Stroke Risk factors such as age, family history, and congenital disorder cannot be controlled. However, a slight moderation in our everyday lifestyle can greatly prevent the occurrence of stroke.
A healthy balanced diet and at least 30 minutes of physical exercise are beneficial to prevent stroke. Controlling blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels, and quitting smoking, alcohol and tobacco also help to prevent stroke. Maintaining body weight according to BMI and regular health check-ups lead to stroke prevention.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *