On September 29, on the initiative of the World Health Organization, the world celebrates Healthy Heart Day. Galina I. NECHAEVA, MD, PhD, Prof. of the Department of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine (Postgraduate Course), has told about the prevention of heart diseases.
A 21st Century plague
The well-known expression "cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the plague of the 20th century" is still relevant for the 21st century. Modern technologies in health care do not reduce CVD mortality.
«There are several reasons for CVDs, and one of them is stress. It is noticed that an unstable society tends to have a higher CVD mortality. There was a very sharp rise in CVD mortality in our country in the second half of the 1980s, a very difficult time for Russia. Stress causes endothelial dysfunction, the morphological basis of all CVDs. This process marks a starting point of vascular thrombosis and a rise in blood pressure. But it is impossible to protect yourself from stress, which is why it is necessary to learn healthy ways of coping with difficulties» - noted Prof. Nechaeva.
Giving up bad habits
Smoking is another major threat to a healthy heart. Nicotine causes hypercoagulation, which limits the blood flow to the heart and brain. So-called passive smokers are under the influence of nicotine because they unwittingly inhale the smoke, which stops the release of a vasodilator nitric oxide. In a stressful situation, the combination of tachycardia and lack of nitric oxide creates conditions for сoronary artery disease, and a person can get ventricular fibrillation and die suddenly. Smokers should at least reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke and seek medical care. Alcohol abuse also leads to high blood pressure.
It is crucial to monitor blood pressure from a young age to prevent premature death resulting from CVDs. High blood pressure leads to myocardial damage with the development of hypertrophy, coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, dementia, and kidney failure.
«Hypertension is a very insidious condition. It does not cause any symptoms, but at the same time, atheromatous begins to form, low-density lipids pass through the endothelium and the vessels become stiffer. And only the manifestation of neurological or cardiac symptoms causes the patient to start treatment. Therefore, remember to maintain optimal blood pressure and take medications as prescribed» – reminds Prof. Nechaeva.
A sensible diet
Obesity is one of the major CVD risk factors. The excess weight forces the myocardium to contract more intensively to supply oxygen and nutrients to organs, which over time leads to tissue remodeling and heart failure. It is believed that people should retain the weight they had in their youth throughout life. That is why everyone should follow a sensible diet. Its principles are simple and well known: eat more fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, reduce the consumption of fatty, salty and sweet food.
A healthy person should move as much as possible. Swimming in the pool and cycling are great for strengthening the heart muscle. According to Professor Nechaeva, the easiest way to stay active every day is to walk more.
«Three to four kilometers a day is an achievable norm. When we сome home from work by foot or walk up the stairs, we are strengthening our heart. Take a two-hour walk in a nice company of your loved ones or a pet and you will live ten years longer! And may our hearts be healthy and our days always bright and joyful!» - wished Prof. Nechaeva.
OSMU Press Center