Ahead of World Heart Day, on September 29, one of the leading cardiac surgeons in India, Dr. Ramakanta Panda spoke to Republic TV and explained the five common habits that one can adopt, in order to ensure good heart health. The Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai, Dr. Panda is also a Padma Bhushan awardee. While heart-related illnesses affect many people around the globe, it is pivotal to avoid it at a personal level. There are some generic practices that one needs to follow in order to ensure good health, keeping one’s heart-healthy is not different.
Listing the good practices that one should follow, Dr. Panda said that, "Five most important habits that I will advise for good heart health would be exercise, proper diet, sleeping, avoiding tobacco in any form, and maintaining good oral hygiene. Each of them is very very important."
Dr Panda said that, "Exercise, if you do regularly makes the arteries inside the body very subtle so that chances of developing diabetes and heart diseases are less. Exercise also increases body immunity and it fights all types of chances of developing an infection, and cancer becomes less."
On diets, Dr Panda said, “Similarly, diet is very very important, because eating the right diet will prevent heart disease including cancer. At the same time, eating the wrong type of food also can increase the risk of all types of diseases, also heart diseases. Especially you have seen food which is called 'bad-fat'. The food, which is high in animal food, which is called red meat. Those things can significantly increase the risk of developing heart disease.”
Dr Panda said that sleep was the third most important thing one has to take care off to ensure heart health. She also stressed on the importance of a regular sleep schedule. "Because our body has an internal clock, just like the way we have a clock on which we run our daily activities, our body has an internal clock on which the body works. There is a time when the body needs rest so that all the activities that been done throughout the day get repaired, all the things that you have done, the memory gets reset inside the brain. So, it is very very important that you sleep properly and at the right time. It is very important that you sleep at least 7-8 hours and sleep at the same time every day. Sleeping one day at ten o'clock, one day at eleven, one day at two o'clock is very bad even though you sleep for eight hours it is not good. You have to sleep at the same time. It is very very important.”
On smoking and consumption of tobacco in other forms, the doctor said, “The fourth important thing is to avoid tobacco in any form. One of the most dangerous habits is taking tobacco in any form whether it is smoking, gutka, pan parag, or in any form including vaping is the most dangerous thing because tobacco damages the body. It damages your breathing system if you are smoking. If you are not smoking but taking tobacco in any other form, it damages the internal lining of the arteries. Once it damages, it is like a lubricating mechanism. So, once that is damaged, the cholesterol starts getting deposited and then the arteries become very thick and that is how you develop blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So, tobacco in any form is the most dangerous thing that one, as a habit should avoid.”
Finally, Dr Panda spoke about oral hygiene. “And the fifth, I'll advise, which many people do not know is maintaining a very good oral hygiene. Not only good for keeping your teeth for a very long time, but it is very important since it affects heart disease. If you don't clean your teeth properly if you don't brush your teeth properly, plaque starts accumulating inside and bacteria start growing. When you brush, it gets into your bloodstream, from where it can go to the heart, if the valve of the heart is defective, it can cause infection and can cause a life-threatening condition called Endocarditis, which if untreated can lead to people dying. Secondly, equally important is you have a small little cholesterol deposit inside the heart arteries, it can go and affect it and once it infects it, that area becomes very soft and any stress condition that can rupture and blood clot forms there and causes a heart attack. So, to summarise, the five most important habits ill advise is exercise, proper diet, sleeping, avoiding tobacco in any form, and good oral hygiene.”