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Please Prioritise Your Health

We are witnessing an increasing number of young people dying from heart attacks.
05:00 AM Jul 03, 2024 IST | DR. ZUBAIR SALEEM
please prioritise your health

Recently, I lost my younger brother (Cousin) to a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case; we are witnessing an increasing number of young people dying from heart attacks. Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy food choices, and lack of exercise are major contributors to the rise in non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The situation worsens when people, even after being diagnosed, do not follow medical advice.


Globally there is a significant rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with heart attacks being a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Unlike communicable diseases, which are transmitted from person to person, NCDs develop over time due to a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral factors. Understanding these risk factors is crucial for prevention and management. WE ARE EMPHASIZING REPEATEDLY.


Risk Factors of Non-Communicable Diseases

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle is a primary risk factor for many NCDs, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Physical inactivity can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks. Regular exercise helps maintain cardiovascular health, reduces blood pressure, and improves overall well-being.
  2. Unhealthy Diet: Consuming a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and salt can contribute to the development of NCDs. These unhealthy food choices lead to obesity, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and diabetes, all of which are significant risk factors for heart disease. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is essential for preventing these conditions.
  3. Tobacco Use: Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease and other NCDs. It damages the lining of the arteries, leading to the buildup of fatty material (atherosclerosis) that narrows the artery. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease. Quitting smoking significantly reduces these risks.
  4. Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure, contribute to heart failure, and lead to stroke. It also contributes to obesity, which further increases the risk of heart disease.
  5. Genetic Factors: Family history plays a crucial role in the risk of developing heart disease and other NCDs. Individuals with a family history of these conditions should be particularly vigilant about other modifiable risk factors.
  6. Age and Gender: The risk of heart disease increases with age. Men are generally at higher risk than women, although the risk for women increases and can even surpass that of men after menopause.
  7. High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is a significant risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. It can damage the heart and blood vessels if not managed properly.
  8. High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to the formation of plaques in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Preventive Measures

  1. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, and aerobics strengthen the heart and improve circulation.
  2. Healthy Eating: Adopting a heart-healthy diet is crucial. This includes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Reducing the intake of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugars is also important. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can help lower the risk of heart disease.
  3. Avoiding Tobacco: Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease. There are various resources and programs available to help individuals quit smoking.
  5. Regular Health Screenings: Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help detect early signs of NCDs. Monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels can lead to early intervention and better management.
  6. Stress Management: Chronic stress can contribute to heart disease. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and regular relaxation can help manage stress levels effectively.
  7. Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing NCDs.
  8. Adhering to Medical Advice: For those diagnosed with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol, it is crucial to follow medical advice and take prescribed medications regularly.

Non-communicable diseases, especially heart attacks, pose a significant health risk globally. By understanding and addressing the various risk factors through lifestyle changes and preventive measures, we can reduce the incidence of these diseases and improve overall health outcomes. It's okay to enjoy all kinds of healthy food, but always in moderation. Prioritizing health, staying active, eating a balanced diet, avoiding harmful substances and adhering to medical advice are key steps in combating the rise of NCDs.