Exercise, healthy food good for the heart | The Guardian Nigeria News



As World Heart Day is celebrated around the world on September 29, Nigerians have been urged to exercise and eat good foods as it would help their hearts to function optimally. In turn, this would go a long way in reducing the risk of hypertension, diabetes and heart attack.

The heart can be made healthy by reducing the intake of salt. High salt intake has been implicated as a risk factor for hypertension, heart failure, and heart attacks. However, reducing salt intake isn’t just limited to table salt, as it also includes salty condiments. Studies have shown that increased salt intake increases the risk of developing heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure whether or not the patient is hypertensive.

On the other hand, it is beneficial to increase the consumption of fish, especially those rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon. This reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, by increasing the level of good cholesterol in the body.

Other heart-healthy foods, experts say, include peanuts, cashews, and walnuts. Cereals and whole grains, like oatmeal, are also good for the heart because they lower bad cholesterol levels, raise good cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart failure. diabetes.

To have a healthy heart, it is also necessary to reduce the consumption of fatty meals, sugary foods and drinks, red meat, processed meals, tobacco and alcohol. An increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is especially helpful because they contain a lot of antioxidants. , which reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, as well as cancer. They also reduce the aging process and improve the health of other organs like the brain and kidneys.

Akinsanya Olusegun Joseph, consultant cardiologist at the University of Lagos College of Medicine, said cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels, and which can be prevented through a healthy life.

He said, “They are the leading cause of death in the world and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertensive heart disease, valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, heart disease, heart muscle and cardiomyopathies, among others.

“Besides congenital heart disease, cardiovascular disease is largely a chronic condition that develops most often, insidiously, throughout life and usually progresses to an advanced stage by the time symptoms appear. ”

Joseph noted that there are various symptoms and signs of CVD, depending on the particular disease. Common complaints, however, include exertional chest pain – central or left side chest pain that occurs during activity or exertion and is relieved by rest or certain specific medications.

“For some patients, pain can occur during an emotional outburst,” he explained. “Such pain usually lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes and can spread to the left shoulder and upper limb. In the worst case, chest pain can occur at rest, can be very excruciating and can last from a few minutes to several hours or can be fatal if you have a heart attack.

“There are also breathing difficulties on exertion, which may progressively worsen to a point where the patient may be short of breath while at rest; difficulty breathing while lying down, requiring more pillows to sleep. In the worst case scenario, a patient cannot sleep even when sitting or propped up. In addition, the patient may often wake up short of breath.

“Awareness of the heartbeat, known as palpitations, is also a common symptom. Irregular heartbeats, a major cause of palpitations, can be the patient’s complaint. There may also be a cough, which may be dry at first, but later producing a frothy whitish frothy sputum, and gradually worsening easy fatigue.

“Stroke patients may experience sudden weakness of the face, arms or legs, usually in one part of the body, with reduced or loss of function in the upper or lower limb of the affected part. Other symptoms include sudden numbness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body, as well as a sudden loss of balance or coordination. Before the stroke sets in, the patient may have sudden, transient vision loss in one eye, lasting from seconds to minutes. Patients with peripheral vascular disease may experience activity-induced numbness or pain, usually in the lower limb, initially, which may progress to numbness or pain at rest in the lower limb.

He said prevention of CVD ideally begins during pregnancy and lasts until the end of life. The reason is that certain conditions or situations during pregnancy can predispose the unborn child to cardiovascular disease.

For example, a woman who smokes and consumes alcohol, especially during pregnancy, may put the unborn child at risk for congenital heart disease or a hole in the heart. A baby with intrauterine growth retardation, poor growth in the womb, with the resulting low birth weight, is at risk of developing CVD later in adulthood, compared to babies born with a weight normal. On the other hand, very large babies at birth, usually from mothers with diabetes, also have an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

“Prevention can be divided into two types: Primary prevention, aimed at people at high risk of developing a first cardiovascular event. For example, men and women with combinations of smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes or dyslipidemia. This essentially involves lifestyle modification and treatment of the risk factors identified in these high risk patients.

“Secondary prevention is for people with established CVD (post-stroke, post-myocardial infarction.) These are strategies to prevent a recurrence of CVD that they have encountered. It also involves lifestyle modification, treatment of risk factors, CVD and co-morbidities.

“Primary prevention measures aim to prevent the expression or appearance of risk factors. This can include measures put in place, even before birth, such as good antenatal care, avoiding risk factors that may predispose the unborn child to heart disease such as congenital heart disease. For example, smoking, as pointed out above, and irradiation during pregnancy.

“Also avoid infections, especially the complex torches of toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex and syphilis. In addition, whenever possible, any form of nutritional deficiency should have been corrected before pregnancy to eliminate deleterious effects, which may include congenital heart disease in the unborn child.

Joseph explained that educating the population, especially women, is essential in this regard. Factors that prevent the possibility of developing hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity and high cholesterol levels are also important in primordial prevention. Eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and exercising regularly all aim to prevent the development of risk factors.

It also means that very early in life, children are exposed to the importance of a healthy diet, non-exposure to smoking, regular exercise and sports in school, and the importance of eating well. importance of healthy eating.

Dr Adeyemi Johnson, CEO of First Cardiology Consultants Clinic Ikoyi, in Lagos, said there are many signs of heart disease, including hypertension, diabetes and chest pain.

He said: “Hypertension is very common in Nigeria, it is very common among black people. It is very difficult to treat hypertension in blacks than in whites. Incidents of high blood pressure are very high in Nigeria, due to the diet. The average Western diet has six grams of sodium, while the Nigerian diet has 12 grams, which means Nigerians eat a lot of salt. It comes from local foods, such as chips, noodles, and cashews, among others.

“Hypertension is known to be a silent killer. We also have strokes, which are the result of uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, and many of these conditions have no symptoms.

“We started having heart attacks. When I was in medical school many years ago, throughout my years there, we only had one heart attack patient and he was from the United States. Today we have seen many patients suffering from heart attacks due to the change in our lifestyles. We have adopted all of the bad western lifestyles. We stopped exercising, we eat fatty foods, we don’t go to the doctor, and we don’t take our medications. Heart attack is described as a feeling of squeezing pressure in the heart.

“There is also heart failure, which occurs when the heart becomes very weak and is unable to perform its functions properly. The main cause of heart failure in Nigeria is hypertension, while diabetes is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Blindness, chest pain, or paralysis are all common signs of a heart attack. Sometimes the chest pain goes down to one arm of the chest, and sometimes both arms.

“When a person is diagnosed with chest pain at the age of 40 and over, it should be taken seriously because they are at risk for other heart disease. When someone’s heart pump isn’t working properly or you find out that you can’t sleep properly or have swollen legs, these are all signs of heart failure.


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