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increase the risk of a heart attack. These danger signs are called “risk factors”. The progression of heart disease is a long-term process in which cholesterol and other substances build up in the inner lining of artery walls. They form plaques, which block the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Risk factors tend to speed the development of plaque, and by reducing them, we can stop the progression of plaque growth and thus, decrease the chances of having a heart attack. There are two types of risk factors- those which can be modified and those which cannot.
Blood pressure » The force or pressure of the blood (pumped from the heart) against the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. » Systolic blood pressure (top or high number) is the pressure inside your arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood into your arteries. » Diastolic blood pressure (bottom or low number) is the pressure inside your arteries when the heart is relaxing and filling with blood. » The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and lead to serious health problems. » The common long-term complications of high blood pressure are; heart disease, stroke, eye damage, kidney damage etc. » Some people get nervous during a visit to their doctor’s office and this causes their blood pressure to increase. They are said to have “white coat hypertension.” » It is a common misconception that the systolic BP should be your age plus 100. This is FALSE. The latest international guidelines for blood pressure are as under: Category Normal Pre-hypertension Hypertension, stage I Hypertension, stage II Systolic BP Less than 120 120-139 140-159 More than 160 And Or Or Or Diastolic BP Less than 80 85-89 90-99 Greater than 100
fat-like substance made in the liver and found in your body's cells. » Type 1 Diabetes – With Type 1 diabetes. it also causes several types of cancer. LDL.NOTE: You are considered to have the risk factor of hypertension. » HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the walls of your coronary arteries. » A smoker’s risk of having a heart attack is more than twice that of a nonsmoker. » It reduces the level of the good HDL cholesterol. LDL Cholesterol diabetes). is responsible for moving the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. triglycerides. » Triglycerides are fatty substances found in the bloodstream. white. Total Cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dl 2. and this is called diabetes. A level of more than 126 mg/dl indicates diabetes. When insulin is insufficient or the body is unable to use it properly the sugar rises. Evaluation. and increases the stickiness of blood cells causing blood clots inside the arteries. Smoking speeds up the development of plaque in the arteries. and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7). » The lipid profile consists of your total cholesterol. and HDL. that. » Diabetes is diagnosed on the basis of your fasting glucose levels. HDL Cholesterol More than 40 mg/dl Less than 130 mg/dl (less than 100. even if your BP is controlled with medications. Besides being a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. However. High triglycerides are associated with the build up of blockages inside the coronary arteries. excess glucose builds up in the blood mainly because the cells become resistant to the insulin the body makes. Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dl 3. The hormone insulin. Diabetes » Diabetes mellitus comes from the Greek word diabetes (to flow through. » The combination of cholesterol and protein is known as a lipoprotein (lipo or lipid means fat). » LDL is called “bad” cholesterol because it causes atherosclerotic plaque to build up inside your coronary arteries. the pancreas is either completely unable to produce insulin or is able to produce only a tiny amount. The pancreas still secretes insulin. urine) and the Latin word mellitus (sweetened or honey-like). this should be confirmed by another test done on a different day. which is produced in the pancreas. when occurring together. if you have heart disease or 4. Detection. » Syndrome X or the insulin resistance syndrome is new term for a cluster of conditions. » Cholesterol is present in foods of animal origin. hypertension and heart disease. » Type 2 Diabetes – With type 2 diabetes.Source: Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention. may indicate a predisposition to diabetes. » You may have Syndrome X if you have 3 of the following 5 conditions: Risk Factor Obesity Waist circumference:Men Waist circumference: Women Triglycerides HDL cholesterol Men: Women: Blood pressure Fasting blood sugar Cut-off level More than 35 inches (as per Indian standards) More than 31 inches(as per Indian standards) More than 150 mg/dl Less than 40 mg/dl Less than 50 mg/dl More than or equal to 130 / More than or equal to 85 More than or equal to 110 mg/dl Smoking » Smoking is the one of the most important preventable causes of premature death. . Cholesterol » Cholesterol is a soft. The following are the values recommended to keep your risk for heart disease to a minimum: 1. » Glucose (sugar) in our blood is carried to all the cells of the body to be used for energy.
9 More than 30 Weight Category Underweight Normal Overweight Obese Physical Inactivity » Most of us do not get as much activity as we need to maintain good health. reduces risk for certain types of cancer. body mass index (BMI). Instead. If you weigh 70 kg and are 1. » Studies have shown that you can reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 50% by participating in regular aerobic exercise. Obesity » Obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat. if you quit you will dramatically slow down the build up of blockages in your arteries. If a male in your immediate family has had heart disease before the age of 55 years or if a female family member has had heart disease before the age of 65 years. » Obesity increases one's risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure.89 = 24. parking your car a little further away from your destination etc. » The risk of heart disease increases with age. and reduces your risk for stroke. lipoprotein (a). diabetes (type 2).women suffer as well. makes your heart work harder. » Stress is not yet established as a proven independent risk factor for heart disease. body fat percentage. In our country we have observed men at a much younger age also having heart disease. such as taking the steps instead of the elevator. but generally after menopause. » New studies are also showing that Indians have a higher risk for developing heart disease than those from other countries. And Family History » These are risk factors. Age. » Your genes play an important role in your risk for heart disease. These figures are based on international data. which you cannot control.» Smoking even one cigarette has harmful effects. your risk is increased several fold. gall bladder disease and cancer of the breast. » There are different ways to measure obesity. Sex. High levels of homocysteine are related to the early development of heart disease. heart disease. » Think of simple ways to add physical activity in your daily life. more and . C-reactive protein. and increases your risk for blood clots and cause spasm of your coronary arteries. your BMI will be 70/2. » The good news is that no matter how long you have smoked in the past. and cause palpitations.2 kg/m2 BMI Less than 18. It raises your blood pressure. » The newer risk factors include. » Smoking can also trigger heart rhythm problems. stroke. Newer Risk Factors » More research is coming out on other risk factors which may cause heart disease. Studies have shown that the risk rises sharply for men after the age of 45 and for women after age 55. Physical activity includes the ‘Structured Exercise’ we do as well as activities of daily living called ‘Lifestyle Physical Activity’. and factors which increase thrombosis.7 m tall. small LDL particles. » Besides preventing heart disease and its risk factors. These have not been studied as extensively as the ‘established’ risk factors. The most widely used clinical measure today is BMI To Calculate Your BMI BMI = weight in kg / (height in meter)2 E.g. reduces stress. Unlike LDL cholesterol.5-24. » Homocysteine is a common amino acid (one of the building blocks that make up proteins) found in the blood. » Heart disease is not a ‘man’s disease’.9 25-29. » Regular physical activity should be encouraged from early childhood onwards.5 18. homocysteine. waist-hip ratio. and waist circumference. » Lipoprotein (a) is a variant of "bad" LDL attached to an extra protein particle. Lp a) does not appear to promote fatty buildup in the arteries. regular exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis. prostate and colon. However. its damage may come from preventing the breakup of clots.
one must do at least three or more sets. » Acute and chronic stress may affect other risk factors and behaviors. cycling. which uses large muscles. and what type of exercise?” An easy way to remember the recommendations is to think of the FITT principle. I . then you are probably working too hard and need to slow down. and has shown to positively influence “quality of life measures”. Contrary to popular belief. For health benefits you should do one set of 8-10 exercises that condition the major muscle groups 2-3 days per week. you should exercise between 55-90% of your maximum heart rate. It is any exercise. the greatest benefits may be experienced by post-menopausal women. in whom osteoporosis is a major problem. » If you get chest discomfort. which you perceive to be between “fairly light” and “somewhat hard”. such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.is for INTENSITY. Resistance training helps by strengthening the bones. in various studies. » If you have more than 2 risk factors for heart disease consult your doctor before starting any exercise. In fact. During the first five minutes. to the contrary. exercise at a slower pace. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. and benefit from resistance training. Therefore if you are 25 years old. A third method is to use a system called Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE). jogging. If you do not want to actually measure your heart rate a simple way of monitoring exercise intensity is the “talk test”. if you are too breathless to carry on a conversation with someone beside you. The term “aerobic exercise”. Exercise Your Heart Exercise has been shown to modify all the risk factors for heart disease in a positive manner and is the most powerful and safe ‘medicine’ for your heart. New research has shown that you can split up your exercise bouts into three intermittent bouts of minimum ten minutes each and derive the same benefit as one continuous thirty-minute bout. Safety Tips » Warm-up before exercising. smoking. T – is for TIME. such as the arm.Is for FREQUENCY of training. F. swimming. What about weight training? The other aspect of training is strength. As your fitness level improves you can start exercising at the higher end of the heart rate range. rowing. you should exercise at an intensity. and is best achieved by resistance training. you do not need to be young to engage in. The next logical questions are. T – is for TYPE of exercise.more evidence suggests a relationship between the risk of cardiovascular disease and environmental and psychosocial factors. nausea or giddiness stop exercising and consult your doctor. and can be performed continuously. To obtain maximum cardiovascular benefit. The best type of exercise to develop and maintain cardio-respiratory fitness is aerobic exercise.. legs etc. Most persons should complete 8-12 repetitions of each exercise. physical inactivity and overeating. Examples include brisk walking. . Another popular myth is that to benefit from weight lifting. which translates to “lifting weights”. Using this. that is. The recommended time is 20-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic activity. simply means using oxygen for energy. how hard should you exercise. which corresponds to 55 to 90% of your maximum heart rate. your maximum heart rate is 195. and you should exercise between 137 and 166 beats per minute. and other similar activities. which should be 4-6 days a week. “How much exercise should you do. Multipleset regimens may provide greater benefits if time allows. The lower end of the heart rate range is for older and de-conditioned people.
diabetes. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil supplements have been shown to be an effective preventive strategy against heart disease. . as well as strengthening the heart muscle itself. In response to the injury. This will help maintain the health of the vessels leading to the heart. during. The muscle layer of the artery may also grow. This could lead to a heart attack or stroke if the clot completely blocks the blood and oxygen supply to a major artery leading to the heart or brain. smoking. begin to accumulate along the inner layer of the artery. and control cholesterol. They can lower triglyceride levels. Atherosclerosis . Causes and Symptoms Recent studies have shown that children with one or both parents who have had heart disease before age 60 were more likely to have atherosclerosis themselves. A clot can continue to grow until it completely blocks an artery.Overview Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol-rich plaque builds up along the arterial walls. along with lipids. Do not suddenly stop the exercise. cutting off the oxygen supply to a vital organ. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) There are four conditions associated with coronary artery disease: atherosclerosis. forming the basis of a plaque. which many grow large enough to block the artery. make sure you drink plenty of water before. Nutrition and Supplements • Fish oil. Lower your intake of saturated fats. Atherosclerosis is thought to develop when an injury occurs to the endothelial (inside) lining along the artery wall. and the risk of CAD increases progressively with age. » Cool-down at the end of exercise. Control your blood pressure. insulin resistance. or a clot can break free from the vessel wall (become an embolus) and become lodged somewhere else further downstream. help minimize inflammation and blood clotting. and the use of birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy. white blood cells. gradually slow down over the last 5 minutes. Stop smoking. and after the exercise.» When exercising in the heart. Suggested Lifestyle Changes Those with atherosclerosis should try to: • • • • Get more exercise. increase HDL cholesterol. high blood pressure. If the plaque is disturbed. high homocysteine and angina pectoris. and keep blood vessels healthy. Other risk factors for developing atherosclerotic plaques include high cholesterol. platelets may begin to accumulate at the site and form a thrombus. or clot.
the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. foods very rich in fiber are healthy. thin people can also have the problem and be at the same risk for heart disease. has several negative effects elsewhere in the body. try the following: • Watch your carbohydrate intake. Eventually. In time. This antioxidant is thought to be one of the most important antioxidant supplements for protection against many forms of cardiovascular disease. .Overview Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the transport of glucose from the blood into cells where it is used as fuel. with the extra pounds accumulating in the abdomen (the classic "apple" shape). Excess weight. When blood sugar rises after a meal. The classic low-fat. A simple way to diagnose an insulin resistance problem is to take a blood test that looks for a low HDL cholesterol. the pancreas secretes even more insulin. With insulin resistance. Insulin Resistance . the normal amount of insulin secreted is not enough to move glucose into the cells . along with a high triglyceride level. a high fasting insulin level or a high uric acid level.thus the cells are "resistant" to the action of insulin. blood-sugar levels will continue to rise because the pancreas stops producing enough insulin or the cells become more and more resistant to the insulin that is produced. and is able to maintain fairly normal blood-sugar movement into cells and a normal blood-sugar level. and support optimal functioning of the heart muscle. such as a family history of diabetes. However. high blood pressure and diabetes. however. high-carb diet that was the standard recommendation for preventing or treating heart disease for years can actually make insulin resistance worse. insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 diabetes. High insulin levels also have a role in the process that regulates inflammation. A moderately low carbohydrate diet (40 to 45 percent of calories) emphasizing low glycemic index sources of carbohydrate (those that raise blood sugar levels slowly rather than quickly) is recommended.• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin. The resulting high level of insulin. Suggested Lifestyle Changes For those with insulin resistance. Causes and Symptoms Insulin resistance is often due to: • • Genetic factors. In general. It helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation. itself a risk factor for heart disease. To compensate. protect against clots and plaque rupture. It influences the enzymes in the liver that produce cholesterol and acts on the kidney (which can contribute to high blood pressure). maintain healthy blood vessels. high blood pressure or heart disease.
. Eat fish frequently. it was believed that a person who had just suffered a heart attack should not exercise. Disease including heart disease is only a result of our constant abuse and neglect of our body and mind. muscle tone increases. Include moderate amounts of monounsaturated fat (30 to 35 percent of calories) rather than following a strict lowfat diet. like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines. and plaque rupture. and that also only after re-assessing one's cardiac status. Normally. a person's fight response to stress increases. Vihar. Does Yoga exercise affect stress levels also? Involuntary functions of the body. in our methods of recreation. Earlier. the heart rate. circulation. In addition. Yoga is the science of health.• • • • • • Cut saturated fats. The Parasympathetic Nervous System on the other hand works against sympathetic stimulation. diabetes etc. it can also increase the platelet stickiness. Eat small. Vigorous aerobic exercise decreases the cells' resistance to insulin. Prolonged stress is known to cause a number of phychosomatic disease like IHD. This type of fat seems to improve cells' response to insulin. and while they can help no doubt. All of the above can result in more incidences of clot formation. rise in oxidised LDL level. One can start physical exercise only two months after a heart-attack. or meditation or relaxation techniques. Hypertension. digestion are controlled by the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. and increase in vascular spasm. both these systems work continuously and strike a balance depending upon the stress level. But these have to be done only under a yoga teacher's guidance. but should commence activity gradually as per one's cardiologist's advice. To experience good health. For example. Eat generous amounts (five or more servings) of non-starchy vegetables and one to two servings of low-glycemic index fruit every day. good health is a by-product of yoga. When the Sympathetic Nervous System is stimulated. plaque formation. like respiration. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve insulin resistance. Vichar i. Lose weight if you are overweight. in our dietary habits. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two: Sympathetic Parasympathetic. in our Aahar. These changes can cause accelerated atherosclerosis. The best are cold-water fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. How can Yoga asanas help prevent heart disease? Yoga is a holistic approach. There is no harm in practising the simpler yogic techniques like Yogendra Pranayama IV or IX. Is that correct? One should not venture into any strenuous activity immediately after a heart attack. Achar. respiratory rate. frequent meals to keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible. but keep healthy fats.e. changes have to be brought about in one's lifestyle to experience well-being and good health. decrease in HDL level. High sympathetic tone results in. our behaviour and our thoughts and attitudes. Exercise. This can happen in the course of our day-to-day living if we are subjected to stress. positive changes have to be brought about at the very root.
Yoga predominantly stimulates the parasympathetic system and works against stress. and respiratory rate. vanity. confidence. The self-controlling personality can give rise to anger. leading to an overall deterioration of health. hostility. heart rate. Thus Yoga practices certainly affect stress levels. resentment. These negative emotions give rise to increased sympathetic tone. Relaxation exercises help to develop the witness attitude (sakshi bhava) and help one. Also negative emotions are known to bring down the immunity level of a person. leading to biochemical changes like increased secretions of catecholamines and steroids. The tranquility was indicated by increase in alpha waves in the brain. jealousy. there was reduction in oxygen consumption and blood lactate levels. These hormones increase the irritability of the myocardium and can also lower the threshold of arrhythmias. love and care. a relaxed approach to life leads to contentment. . In a study (1976) on relaxation responses by Benson and Klipper in New York it was found that good relaxation was followed by remarkable parasympathetic predominance. Also. fear. This was indicated by decrease in blood pressure. The guiding thought behind this is: You can't drown if you are standing outside the water. egoism and criticism. A spiritual approach. concentration. to distance oneself from the causes of stress.
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