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World Heart Day 2013: Expert tips to prevent heart disease

Heart disease is becoming more and more prominent among the urban population. Dr Aashish Contractor gives us some tips to prevent heart disease.

Written by Dr Aashish Contractor |Updated : June 29, 2015 9:19 AM IST

Preventing heart diseaseHeart disease is one of the biggest public health burdens in the world right now. Heart disease reportedly kills 17.3 million people every year and this number is estimated to rise to 23 million by 2030. Therefore it's become more imperative to make the right choices for your heart. Dr Aashish Contractor, Head of Department, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation of the Asian Heart Institute tells us how we can live a heart healthy lifestyle in this day and age.

Although you cannot change risk factors such as family history, sex or age, taking the following preventive steps can help you stay heart healthy. Common heart ailments include coronary heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure.

Tips to keep heart disease at bay

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Kick the butt

The chemicals found in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries, which in turn can lead to a heart attack. It also increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Even occasional or 'social smoking' is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease. The good news is that no matter how long you have been smoking, you will feel better, and begin reaping rewards as soon as you kick the habit. (Also read: Why you should quit smoking)

Eat healthy for your heart

One of the starting points is to revamp your diet and make smart substitutions such as switching to heart-healthy cooking oils like canola oil that is high in mono and polyunsaturated fats which help in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. Canola oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Limit your intake of salt and sugar as excessive consumption can lead to high blood pressure or cholesterol. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. (Read: Take the natural route to heart health home remedies that work!)

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Just move it

Avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle; exercising daily is a must, even if it is for 30-45 min. Regular physical activity helps you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may put a strain on your heart. Go for a walk; try some yoga, dance or aerobics to stay active, upbeat and positive. Your exercise sessions don't have to be strenuous, even taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts! (Read: Supercharge your cardio workout)

Keep your cool

Stress can create an unhealthy lifestyle as one may take up excessive smoking, drinking, and binging, which in turn are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Being stressed may also trigger reduced blood flow to the heart, irregular heart beat and increase the chances of your blood clotting, all of which can have adverse effects on your heart health. (Read: Feeling stressed? Try these natural remedies)

Know your heart, love your heart

More and more Indians are falling prey to heart disease. There are various reasons for this including a sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, pollution, smoking, drinking, a fatty diet and a general ignorance about what causes heart ailments. However, we at intend to fight that by covering every aspect of cardiovascular health including diet, expert advice, exercise, natural remedies, diagnosis and treatment, specific heart advice for women and more this month.

Check out ourHeart Health Pagefor more.

For more articles on heart disease, check out our heart disease section. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on health topics of your choice, visit our forum.

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