May your heart live longer!

The heart is an organ, which breaks all records and exerts a violent effort throughout its life, at which if stopped life will cease. In other words, it is the energy house of the human body and responsible for pumping blood for a distance of 97,000 km! That’s 40 million times a year, which is about 3 billion times a lifetime. Hence, have we appreciated the value and importance of this real organ in our lives?
Unfortunately, the cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. Diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, rigid lifestyle and stress are no doubt a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Sadly, poor air quality nowadays, is an increasing risk factor for heart and related diseases, which needs to be highlighted.
Though evidence suggested that severe periodontitis is a significant independent risk factor for atherogenic vascular disease (coronary artery diseases and stroke). However, the role of periodontitis in the causal pathway of these conditions remains to be proven.
The World Heart Day is celebrated annually on September 29, as an opportunity to raise public awareness and promote different preventative steps and changes in lifestyle to avoid any cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack, stroke, heart failure and any other condition related to the same. On average, more than 17 million people die from heart-related illnesses every year. This is more than that of people who die from cancer.
However, the World Heart Day focuses on creating healthy heart environments to unveil the influence of the surrounding environment, which is currently one of the causes of heart disease, with 80 per cent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease found to be preventable by refraining from smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction, as well as following a healthy diet and physical exercise.
The fastest and easiest ways to improve the quality of your workspace and prevent heart-related diseases are to promote healthy food choices, rather than unhealthy snacks or high salt diet, in addition to foods (such as those found in most vending machines).
Interestingly, the better your activity, the better your heart will be. Exercise ensures better blood circulation and helps in the proper functioning of the heart. According to the WHO classification of healthy activity, the lifestyle of those who walk less than 5,000 steps a day is considered inactive and this may be the cause of cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, cardiovascular experts stress that maintaining a good mood, physical strength and mental activity requires physical exercise. One of the easiest exercises is to walk daily between 6,000 and 10,000 steps.
Furthermore, nowadays it has been observed that regular yoga practice helps burn calories, help in reducing stress, improve blood circulation, and boost the functioning of the heart. At the end, it will be more fun if these mentioned practices — eating healthy, avoiding smoking and promoting more physically engaging activities — are tried at home with your whole family. So, honour your heart and initiate a promising action towards a healthier life.

Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: