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This World Heart Day,
Let your mind lead your heart to a healthier tomorrow!

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What is World Heart Day?

Owing to our fast-paced lives, our health often tends to take a backseat. We must, however, give ourselves the due care that we deserve. Lifestyle habits such as junk food consumption and a lack of exercise add up over time, and soon begin to affect our well-being. Keeping ourselves hale and hearty is the key to long-term success and is something that we must all strive for.

World Health Day is an initiative by the World Health Federation to raise awareness about heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases. Ahead of World Heart Day on the 29th of September, we as individuals should look into ways and means to take better care of our health. Being aware of the numerous heart-related illnesses and keeping a watch out for signs and symptoms can go a long way in helping steer away heart disease.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) account for nearly 31% of the total global deaths. Stroke and heart diseases claim more than 17.9 million lives each year, thus highlighting the magnitude of the problem. The aim is to reduce deaths due to non-communicable diseases by 25% worldwide by the year 2025. CVDs account for nearly half of the deaths due to non-communicable diseases. World Heart Day, is an initiative to educate people about the risk of heart diseases, ensuring that people across the world lead healthier, happier, and more successful lives. [Ref]

What are some easy tips to keep your heart healthy?

This Heart Day, let us start following some of these useful tips to keep our hearts healthy. These lifestyle changes can play a huge role in helping you feel fitter and happier than ever before!

Exercise Regularly [Ref]
  • Aerobic activity: Thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity at least 5 days a week can help strengthen the heart and keep it healthy. This type of activity improves blood circulation throughout the body, lowering blood pressure and the heart rate. Running, cycling, swimming, and playing sports are some examples of cardiovascular activity.
  • Resistance training: Resistance training has more impact on body composition. It helps burn fat, especially the more dangerous visceral fat that is present around the organs. In combination with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet, it can help maintain weight in the normal range, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Eating a balanced diet

A balanced diet is critical for maintaining good health. Here are some specific “food rules” that can help ensure you eat healthier.

  • Cut down on bad fats: Not all fats are unhealthy. Unsaturated fats are critical for good health and can go a long way in actually keeping the heart-healthy if consumed in the right amount. Cutting down consumption of saturated fats can greatly cut down the risk of heart disease. Trans fats, however, must be completely avoided at all times.
  • Opt for whole grains: Whole grains can greatly help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol due to the increased presence of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Up the intake of fruits and vegetables: Eating at least 2 to 3 types of fruits and 2-3 types of vegetables every day can lower the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
  • Reduce salt consumption: Consuming less salt can help regulate blood pressure. Processed foods tend to have a significantly higher amount of salt, and hence they must be avoided.
  • Lower consumption of sugars: Overconsumption of sugar leads to increased blood glucose levels, which ultimately causes diabetes. This typically damages the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. It has been shown that adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die due to heart disease as adults who don't suffer from diabetes. [Ref]
Quit Smoking

Smoking greatly increases the chances of cancer, lung disease, and heart attacks. Smoking causes damage to the respiratory and circulatory system of the body. Over time, it leads to hardening of the arteries and reduces the HDL or “good” cholesterol in the body, in addition to making it more difficult to engage in physical activity due to reduced lung capacity. This World Heart Day, let’s take a pledge to stop smoking. Taking medication to quit smoking or joining a support group are the tried and tested methods of quitting smoking.

Control Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol in the body, HDL, also known as the “good” cholesterol, and LDL, known as the “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL will result in coronary heart disease, in which the arteries are blocked due to the build-up of plaque. This also results in a reduced diameter of the arteries, which increases blood pressure. A healthy diet and regular exercise can go a long way in maintaining cholesterol levels in the body.

Lower Stress

Stress is a significant cause of heart-related illnesses. The human body releases a hormone called cortisol when it experiences stress. Several studies have shown that a consistently high level of cortisol results in increased blood pressure, and triglycerides and cholesterol levels in the blood. Stress may also cause insufficient blood to flow to the heart muscle, which may ultimately result in a heart attack or stroke. Hence, it is important to keep our stress levels in control. Maintaining a balanced food diet, getting adequate exercise and sleep will go a long way in reducing stress.

Sometimes heart disease may also occur due to some pre-existing health problems. Religare Health Insurance offers the Care Heart policy for individuals suffering from pre-existing heart diseases. With both pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization charges covered in addition to the comprehensive hospitalization coverage, Care Heart is a suitable heart insurance policy for individuals with pre-existing heart diseases. Religare also offers an indemnity based heart mediclaim plan which covers 16 critical heart illnesses.

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