QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
*Question 1:* What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his or her heart?
1. Diet – Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise – Half an hour’s walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control BP – Blood pressure and Sugar
*Question 2:* Can we convert fat into muscles?
*Answer:* It is a dangerous myth. Fat and muscles are made of two different tissues – fat is fat, ugly and harmful. Muscle is muscle. Fat can never be converted into a muscle.
*Question 3:* It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
*Answer:* This is called silent attack. That is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
*Question 4:* Are heart diseases hereditary?
*Question 5:* What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
*Answer:* Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.
*Question 6:* Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
*Answer:* Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints.
*Question 7:* You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
*Answer:* Mother Theresa, who was my patient.
*Question 8:* Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
*Answer:* Extremely rare.
*Question 9:* Does cholesterol accumulate right from an early age (I’m currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
*Answer:* Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
*Question 10:* How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
*Answer:* You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.
*Question 11:* How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
*Answer:* Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
*Question 12:* Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
*Answer:* Fruits and vegetables are the best and oils the worst.
*Question 13:* Which oil is better – groundnut, sunflower, olive?
*Answer:* All oils are bad.
*Question 14:* What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
*Answer:* Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.
*Question 15:* What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
*Answer:* Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him or her to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.
*Question 16:* How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
**Answer:* Extremely difficult without ECG.
*Question 17:* What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 years of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
*Answer:* Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
*Question 18:* Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
*Question 19:* Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
*Answer :* Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may NOT have a software engineer as a child.
*Question 20:* Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
*Answer :* When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.
*Question 21:* Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
*Answer :* Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
*Question 22:* Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
*Question 23:* Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
*Answer :* No.
*Question 24:* How would you define junk food?
*Answer :* Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, Samosas, and even Masala Dosas.
*Question 25:* You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
*Answer:* Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.
*Question 26:* Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
*Question 27:* Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded e-mails on this)?
*Answer:* Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.
*Question 28:* Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
*Answer:* No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.
*Question 29:* Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
*Answer:* Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.
*Question 30:* Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
*Answer:* Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
*Question 31:* What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
*Answer :* Diet, exercise, drugs on time, Control cholesterol, BP, weight.
*Question 32:* Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
*Question 33:* What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
*Answer:* There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.
*Question 34:* Does aspirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
*Question 35:* Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
*Answer:* Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men )
*Question 36:* How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
*Answer:* Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended).
Dr. Abdullahi Oluwalogbon (Heart and Utility Specialist).